MANILA — The Philippines will finally start enrolling patients for its clinical trial that aims to test whether the anti-flu drug Avigan is also effective against COVID-19.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday said that they are just waiting for the insurance documents to be finalized.
“May minor na comment ang ating legal service for this insurance document (Our legal service has a minor comment for this insurance document),” she said during a virtual briefing, referring to insurance coverage of the participants
“But we already gave the signal to our proponent, they are now going to start recruiting participants for the trial,” she added.
Vergeire said that once participants are recruited, the trial can officially start “hopefully by next week.”
The Avigan or favipiravir trial was supposed to start back in August but unsigned documents and other requirements delayed it.
As early as March, the Philippines requested Japan for access to the drug. It received the tablets in August.
Last month, Fujifilm, the company that developed the drug said their clinical study showed reduced recovery times for COVID-19 patients.
The trial is supposed to last for 9 months and will be conducted in 4 hospitals: Philippine General Hospital, Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Quirino Memorial Medical Center.