MANILA — Clinical trials for Japanese drug Avigan, which showed promising results for COVID-19 patients, are supposed to start in the Philippines on Monday, the Department of Health said.
"August 17 today. Ngayon ay uumpisahan na. 'Yan ang sabi ng proponent last week and overseers of this Avigan trial,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing when asked about when the clinical trials will start.
(August 17 today. Today will be the start. That’s what the proponent and overseers of this Avigan trial said last week.)
Clinical trials will be conducted in 4 hospitals: Philippine General Hospital, Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Quirino Memorial Medical Center. Avigan stocks for 100 patients are already in the country, Vergeire said.
“We will start with these 4 hospitals. But of course mage-expand pa 'yang list of hospitals na 'yan (We will expand the list of hospitals) for us to be able to have these 100 patients,” she said.
“Maguumpisa tayo ngayon then after 9 months magsubmit ng resulta,” the health official added.
(We will start now then after 9 months they will submit the results.)
While originally made as an anti-flu drug, Avigan is among those believed to be effective in treating COVID-19 patients.
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.