Philippines to run anti-flu drug Avigan clinical trials on 100 COVID-19 patients

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2020 12:43 PM

Philippines to run anti-flu drug Avigan clinical trials on 100 COVID-19 patients 1
Tablets of Avigan (generic name: Favipiravir), a drug approved as an anti-influenza drug in Japan and developed by drug maker Toyama Chemical Co, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Co. are displayed during a photo opportunity at Fujifilm's headquarters in Tokyo, Oct. 22, 2014. Issei Kato, Reuters/File

MANILA - Japan will provide enough anti-flu drug Avigan for 100 coronavirus disease patients for clinical trials on its efficacy against the respiratory disease, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said the DOH is already formulating guidelines on which hospitals will conduct the 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.)

Consent of the patients are necessary for the trial, she stressed.

Japan has been conducting clinical studies into Avigan, also known as favipiravir, after scientists suggested it had been effective in treating COVID-19 patients.

Vergeire said the Philippines is expecting to conduct clinical trials in the "coming days" after Japan gave its go-signal.

"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.)

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has a cumulative 9,684 confirmed COVID-19 cases including 637 deaths, and 1,408 recoveries.