DOH: Avigan clinical trials to start 'soon'
Airline ground staff wearing protective gear work at the counter at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
DOH: Avigan clinical trials to start 'soon'
( - August 7, 2020 - 5:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — The country will begin the clinical trials for Avigan soon after receiving the anti-flu medication from Japan, the Department of Health said Friday.

Manila received Avigan tablets for 100 patients from Tokyo as part of its emergency grant aid to countries “severely affected” by coronavirus disease.

Avigan—approved for use in flu outbreaks in Japan and has been deployed to treat Ebola—is being trialled as potential coronavirus treatment.  

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the study aiming to test the drug’s efficiency on treating the severe respiratory illness has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Ethics Review Board.

But it is unlikely to start the clinical trials for Avigan on August 10, Monday as there are still legal documents that need to be accomplished.

“But it’s going to happen soon,” Vergeire said.

The department earlier identified Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Quirino Memorial Medical Center as possible sites for Avigan trials.

Clinical trials in China suggested that Avigan could play a role in shortening the recovery time for patients who have contracted the new coronavirus. But experts cautioned on the use of Avigan on pregnant women as it has been shown in animal studies to affect fetal development.

The coronavirus pandemic has so far 122,754 people in the Philippines, with 2,168 deaths. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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