MANILA — Another 1,000 vials of the antiviral drug remdesivir is set to be received by the Philippines for the ongoing Solidarity Trial of the World Health Organization (WHO), a health official of the country said Wednesday.
“This is good news for us, because, yung shipment ng remdesivir, padating na. Pati ang interferon. And this is the 3rd shipment," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
"We are going to receive 1,000 vials coming from WHO.”
The Solidarity Trial is a multi-country clinical trial facilitated by the WHO in search for off-label drugs that may help treat COVID-19 patients.
It started four months ago and initially included hydroxychloroquine and ritonavir, which were later removed from the trial because they did not show positive effects.
Vergeire said that as of Sept. 7, there are 1,009 COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms in the Philippines enrolled in the trials.
They are from 24 study sites or hospitals in the National Capital Region, Baguio, Batangas, Cebu and Davao.
She said there is also a plan to add another drug in the WHO trials.
“Binago na ang protocol. May bagong gamot na idadagdag. We will be informing all of you 'pag nabago na ang protocol. Pero, merong arm ng isang gamot na idadagdag for that,” Vergeire shared.
(They changed the protocol. There is a new drug that will be added. We will be informing all of you once the protocol is changed, but there will be another arm or drug added.)
As for the anti-flu drug Avigan from Japan, Vergeire said the clinical trial agreement is ready to be signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and the University of the Philippines Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla.
The memorandum of agreement for the budget of the trial is also waiting for the signature of the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.
She said they already had a meeting with those implementing the study, and that a dry run was already held for the use of the clinical trial database.
“Hopefully, we can start soon,” Vergeire said.
The Philippines has recorded 269,407 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Tuesday, Sept. 15, of which, 57,392 are active infections. Total recoveries stood at 207,352, while the death toll is 4,663.