MANILA - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said local clinical trials on anti-parasitic drug ivermectin's efficacy in treating COVID-19 cases will begin in mid-September, after some changes in methodology.
Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development explained to the members of the House committee on Appropriations that the trials were moved after the international clinical trial consortium changed its methodology.
“Yung trial po ang target date po niya is September 15 dahil doon po lalabas ang approval," Montoya said.
(The trial's target date is on Sept. 15 because the approval would be released by then.)
The science department earlier said the trials, expected to run for 8 months, would begin in June.
“Bagamat marami pong mga pag-aaral na nagawa na sa ibang bansa, karamihan po dito ay tinatawag na low-quality study po base po sa evaluation ng international peer-reviewers," he added.
(While there are a lot of studies made in other countries, most of it are low-quality studies based on the evaluation of international peer-reviewers.)
Montoya also pointed out that "ethical issues" were found in other studies, most especially in the one conducted in Egypt.
"Bukod pa po doon yung recent development na isinagawa po sa Egypt na nagpakita po ng some benefit ang ivermectin for patients of COVID-19 ay pinullout po from publication dahil because of ethical issues at issues on data manipulation and validity."
(Aside from the recent development in Egypt which showed some of the drug's benefits for COVID-19 patients, it was pulled out of the publication due to ethical issues and reported data manipulation and validity.)
Several doctors have warned the public against using the anti-parasitic drug to treat COVID-19, saying a a number of Filipinos were still infected with the illness despite using ivermectin.
The stringent protocols will ensure that the results will be accepted by the international clinical trial consortium, he said.
Determining the trial size and the funds needed to jumpstart the clinical research have been given to the agencies while awaiting the approval of the protocol by the ethics and technical panel.
The Food and Drug Administration in May granted a certificate of product registration (CPR) for locally-produced ivermectin as an anti-parasitic drug for humans.
In April, infectious diseases expert Dr. Edsel Salvana earlier said that the supposed effectivity of ivermectin in helping to ease the respiratory disease is not backed by data.
Salvana, a member of the technical advisory group that advises the Department of Health (DOH), also cautioned against using ivermectin, citing potential side effects.
--- With reports from Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News