Avigan clinical trials in PH to last for 9 months in 4 hospitals

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2020 02:06 PM

A pharmacist from the Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila on August 8, 2020 shows the anti-flu drug Favipiravir (brand name Avigan) donated by Japan which will be used to treat severe cases of the new coronavirus. Philippine authorities are gearing up to test Avigan for clinical trials as a potential treatment for COVID-19. ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health 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 9 months in 4 hospitals.

“Yung proponent natin si Dr. Berba, siya 'yung gumawa ng protocol, siya 'yung magpapatupad nito in collaboration with these 4 hospitals. This project would run for 9 months,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

(Our proponent Dr. Berba, she made the protocol, she will implement this collaboration with the 4 hospitals. This project would run for 9 months.)

The DOH said the 4 hospitals involved in the study are the Philippine General Hospital, Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Quirino Memorial Medical Center.

Vergeire said the Japanese government already provided doses 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 can start). There were regulatory procedures that were undertaken so it can be started,” she reiterated.

Besides Avigan, 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. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed reliance on a COVID-19 vaccine to address the pandemic.