PH to wait for official study on antibody prescribed to COVID-19 patient Trump

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2020 04:58 PM

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley October 4, 2020, in his conference room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Not shown in the photo also in the room on the call is Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Tia Dufour/The White House/Handout via Reuters

MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said it was open to the possibility of applying the antibody treatment used on US President Donald Trump, after a study on the drug has been published and reviewed in a reputable journal. 

“Iyan pong artikulo na iyan it is not published in a scientific journal which is a requirement pra masabi natin na that is good evidence,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing, adding that only a press release was posted since the study is not yet done.

(That article was not published in a scientific journal, which is a requirement for us to say there is good evidence.)

“So aantayin natin kung sakali (So we will wait for that). It has to go through a regulatory process as well,” she said, referring to publication in a scientific journal and undergoing peer review.

Last week, international media reported that Trump underwent an experimental antibody treatment by US biotech firm Regeneron. It’s supposed to be a combination of two antibodies that are meant to fight the part of the COVID-19 virus used to invade human cells.

“But if it’s going to be introduced here tayo naman ay bukas sa mga ganyan as long as it is found to be safe and effective para sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

(But if it’s going to be introduced here we’re open to that as long as it is found to be safe and effective for Filipinos.)

Vergeire said the Philippine government is always looking at technologies, drugs, and methods that can be used locally, as long as these were proven accurate and safe. 

The company Regeneron has been working on the antibody treatment since March.

According to reports, one of the two antibodies used in the treatment comes from a patient who have recovered from the virus. The other antibody is from a mouse geo-engineered to have a human immune system. Initial studies show that monkey infected with COVID had reduced viral levels after taking the treatment. Scientists have since questioned its use on Trump as it has not yet fully studied.