The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said clinical trials for Avigan, an anti-flu drug from Japan that is said to be effective in treating COVID-19, will be conducted for nine months in four hospitals, hoping that this would be out in the market by 2021.
“Yung proponent natin si Dr. Berba, siya ‘yung gumawa ng protocol, siya ‘yung magpapatupad nito in collaboration with these four hospitals. This project would run for nine months (Our proponent Dr. Berba, she made the protocol, she will implement this collaboration with the four hospitals. This project would run for nine months.),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
The four hospitals involved in the study are the Philippine General Hospital, Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Quirino Memorial Medical Center.
The Japanese government provided doses of Avigan for 100 patients.
“Ito ay dumaan ng approval ng FDA at saka ng ethics board para makapag-umpisa tayo (This underwent approval of the FDA and the ethics board so we could already start). There were regulatory procedures that were undertaken so it can be started,” Vergeire said.
The Philippines also has ongoing clinical trials for anti-viral drug remdesivir through the World health Organization’s Solidarity Trial.
Remdesivir is said to be the first drug that is proven to be effective against COVID-19.
The Philippines has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, with the total reaching nearly 140,000 as of Tuesday./Stacy Ang