Philippines set to begin Avigan clinical trials on 100 COVID-19 patients

The Department of Health announced this Wednesday that Japan is set to provide the Philippines with enough stock of anti-flu drug Avigan for 100 COVID-19 patients. It will be used in a clinical trial to test the efficacy of treating the respiratory disease.

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(Oxford group could have first few million doses of COVID-19 vaccine ready by September)

Avigan is a Japanese anti-flu medication that was found to be “very promising” in treating COVID-19. Japan initially began conducting clinical studies into Avigan when scientists from China’s Ministry of Science and Technology suggested that favipiravir, an active ingredient of Avigan, had been effective.

Health Spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire stated that the DOH is already formulating guidelines for the clinical trial.

Pipili po tayo ng mga ospital na isasali natin sa trial na ito. At doon po sa mga ospital na yun, magkakaroon po tayo ng protocol kung paano pipiliin ang mga pasyente,” she said in a virtual press briefing.

[We will choose hospitals that will join this trial. And from those hospitals, we will have a protocol on how we will choose the patients.]

She underscored that the consent of patients will be required to take part in the trial. We can expect the trial to begin in the “coming days.”

Patuloy po ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa Japan para sa supply of this drug which is Avigan na ipapadala po nila. Nakapagbigay na sila ng go-signal dahil po dito,” she said.

[We are continuously coordinating with Japan for the supply of this drug Avigan. They already gave a go-signal for this.]

The Philippines is testing various other treatments for COVID-19 patients. The Philippine General Hospital and St. Luke’s Medical Center have begun convalescent plasma therapy while other hospitals are involved in the World Health Organization’s “Solidarity Trial” of off-brand drugs.

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