Avigan clinical trials in PH eyed to start this week after delays

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2020 01:41 PM | Updated as of Oct 05 2020 08:06 PM

MyMed Rx Plus Corporation President Jojo Soliman shows at his office in Manila on September 9, 2020 the Favipiravir or Avigan, manufactured by Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical in China with partnership from the pharmaceutical company in Japan, that will be used only in Chinese General Hospital, as approved by Food and Drug Administration. The antiviral drug is used to treat influenza and is being studied to fight COVID-19. ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The clinical trials for Avigan, an anti-flu drug being studied as a possible COVID-19 treatment, may start this week if there are no further delays.

“Napirmahan na ang clinical trial agreement. Ito ay pinirmahan ng Department of Health through our Secretary Francisco Duque III and also napirmahan na ng UP Manila chancellor,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

(The clinical trial agreement has been signed. This was signed by the Department of Health through Secretary Francisco Duque III and also signed by the UP Manila chancellor.)

The unsigned clinical trial agreement was among the cause of delays of the trial, which was initially slated for August. Among the hospitals participating in the trial is the Philippine General Hospital, which is under the University of the Philippines Manila. The other hospitals are Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, and Quirino Memorial Medical Center.

“Ito na lang pong ating konting i-aayos lang, yung database na inaayos natin for our information system ng electronic data capture form,” Vergeire said.

(What we now need to fix is the database for our information system for the electronic data capture form.)

“Kailangan i-ayos. And hopefully, ngayong linggo, mag-uumpisa tayo. We will give it permission,” she added.

(We just need to fix that. And hopefully, this week, we can start. We will give it permission.)

Vergeire said they already met with the proponent or head research of the trial last Friday, and reiterated that the memorandum of agreement has already been signed.

In August, the Japanese government gave the Philippines Avigan tablets for its clinical trial. While Avigan was initially made to treat flu, studies abroad show that it might be effective against COVID-19. It might soon apply for registration or public use in Japan. 

The Philippines has recorded 322,497 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Sunday, Oct. 4, of which, 43,642 are active infections.

The death toll is 5,776, while 273,079 have recovered from the disease which is believed to have first emerged in China late last year.