PH eyes Avigan clinical trials in 3 hospitals

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2020 07:59 PM

A tablet of Avigan (generic name: Favipiravir), a drug developed as an anti-influenza treatment by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings, is displayed during a photo opportunity at Fujifilm's headquarters in Tokyo, Oct. 22, 2014. It is now being tested as a treatment for COVID-19. Issei Kato, Reuters/File

MANILA – The Philippines has identified 3 hospitals to possibly conduct clinical trials of anti-flu drug Avigan as treatment against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a health official said Friday.

The Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Metro Manila have been designated as possible clinical sites for the Japanese-made medication, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in virtual press briefing.

"As a protocol, this trial is undergoing an ethics review. It will then be registered for clinical trial to FDA (Food and Drugs Administration)," she said in Filipino.

The FDA regulates the conduct of clinical trials in the country.

Japan had promised to provide supplies of Avigan to the Philippines and 40 other countries for clinical studies on its efficacy as a coronavirus treatment.

The drug, also known as favipiravir, was developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Corp.

Experts however warned that the drug could cause birth defects and couldn’t be administered to expectant mothers.

The Philippines had also joined World Health Organization’s solidarity trial, which tests drugs believed to help treat COVID-19 patients. Some 220 Filipinos are currently enrolled in the clinical trial.

The solidarity trial involves the participation of more than 100 countries who want to help test off-label drugs believed to have positive effect on coronavirus patients.

These are (1) remdesivir, (2) lopinavir and ritonavir combined, (3) lopinavir and ritonavir plus interferon beta, and (4) chloroquine.

On Friday, the Philippines saw its lowest single-day increase of coronavirus infections in nearly 2 weeks, with 244 new cases. The nationwide tally stood at 20,626, with 987 fatalities and 4,330 recoveries.