More Filipino patients join WHO clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2020 08:00 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said the country now has 288 patients participating in the World Health Organization’s clinical trials in search for effective coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatments. 

This is 68 patients more than the DOH reported in June 4.

The original target last April was 500 patients.

During a televised briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the so-called Solidarity Trial is still ongoing.

“As of June 14, 288 ang currently enrolled patients sa loob ng 20 na ospital kabilang ang 18 na ospital sa National Capital Region, isa sa Davao at isa sa CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region),” she said.

(As of June 14, there are 288 enrolled patients from 20 hospitals, including 18 hospitals from the National Capital Region, 1 from Davao and another 1 from CAR.)

Vergeire said the Inter-Agency Task Force’s technical working group on COVID-19 vaccines is also signing up the Philippines for the WHO’s Solidarity Trial for vaccines.

The ongoing clinical trials on off-label drugs being used for COVID-19 treatment involves the use of (1) remdesivir, (2) lopinavir and ritonavir combined, (3) lopinavir and ritonavir plus interferon beta, and (4) chloroquine. These are drugs that have been developed for other illnesses but are reported to show positive effects on COVID-19 patients. 

For a while, the WHO decided to stop the use of hydroxychloroquine because of safety issues but it resumed its use after further studies.