President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night expressed hope that local clinical trials of Ivermectin would show that they are safe and effective for human use against Covid-19.
Duterte, in a pre-recorded talk to the people, said he believes that “there has to be some truth” to the effectiveness of Ivermectin because some physicians are willing to risk their integrity to allow its use among their patients.
“There are many doctors who believe in its effectiveness. That’s why, if there are doctors willing to put out their neck on the chopping board, risk their integrity, so there has to be some truth in it. Or at least the medicine or whatever it is, has an effect in fighting Covid or building the antibodies in your system,” he said partly in Filipino.
Should clinical trials show that the anti-parasitic drug is safe and effective, Duterte said it may be used for “palliative care,” which focuses on providing patients relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness.
“Even if we use it for palliative, so that you won’t get infected immediately. There has to be an effect in that thing there that is being introduced into your body,” he said partly in Filipino.
He said he looks forward to clinical trials showing that the drug works that they could be used by Covid-19 patients in the country.
“When they come out, that’s what I’m hoping, it will turn out that way we can use it. So that, I’ll be the first. Because you can drink it, at least the preventive,” he said partly in Filipino.
Duterte also expressed hope that experts give weight to some doctors’ strong belief that the drug can cure Covid-19 patients.
Duterte earlier ordered the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH), and FDA to hold local trials for the use of Ivermectin.
On Tuesday, Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) executive director Jaime Montoya said the DOST will proceed with clinical trials of ivermectin for human use against Covid-19.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Eric Domingo said he expects local clinical trials to be completed within six to eight months while international clinical trials may be completed in the next one to two months.
Domingo said it is best to wait for “clearer evidence” that the antiparasitic drug can benefit Covid-19 patients.
“Our specialists are saying is that we wait for the evidence…There’s a possibility po that it is useful but there’s also that possibility that it’s the same as not taking it. We just need to wait for clearer evidence of its effect,” he said partly in Filipino.
To date, the FDA has granted at least two hospitals special permit to use Ivermectin for its Covid-19 patients, acknowledging there was some “pressure” to approve it.
The medical community is divided as to whether Ivermectin should be given to Covid-19 patients or not, but reminded the public that there is a lack of data and evidence on its efficacy against Covid-19.