Hospitals in the PH may begin clinical trials for COVID-19

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Hospitals in the country may begin their clinical trials in search for an effective treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said on Sunday.

During a radio interview, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 20 hospitals may begin if they already have stock of the off-label drugs used in the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) multi-country clinical trials.

“Ito’y magtatagal for months. Ang ating clinical trial ay pwede nang maumpisahan dahil nakuha na natin ang necessary clearances and we are good to go (This will last for months. Our clinical trial can already begin because we have obtained the necessary clearances and we are good to go),” Vergeire said.

“Nung Biyernes, tinitingnan po natin kung makakakuha na tayo ng gamot from different hospitals na pwedeng pagumpisahan (Last Friday we were assessing if we can get medicine from different hospitals that can start already),” she said.

Vergeire said among the drugs that will be included in the trial are remdesivir; lopinavir and ritonavir combined; two drugs plus interferon beta; and chloroquine.

Some 500 patients in critical stage of the disease are expected to take part in the trial, she said.

“Dapat may informed consent. Ibig sabihin, alam ng pasyente yung ating ipapaliwanag sa kanila kung ano ang pwedeng maging epekto ng gamot. Ipapaliwanag din sa kanila kung ano yung mga posibilidad na pwedeng mangyari habang pinapainom sa kanila ang gamot na ito,” Vergeire said.

The drugs will be administered until the desired dosage is achieved.

She said the trial may be expanded to more patients if necessary.

Vergeire said that, even though some participating hospitals in the country may have the identified drugs in their current inventory, the WHO will still send shipments intended for the trial.

Vergeire reiterated that experts have yet to find a cure for the new strain of virus.

“Wala ngayong gamot na may ebidensiya na 100 percent magwo-work against COVID-19. Lahat pawang sinusubukan pa lamang,” she said./Stacy Ang

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