Philippines Committed to Joining Avigan Trials Amid Efficacy Doubts

MANILA/TOKYO – The Philippine Health Department remains committed to joining the clinical trials of the Japanese antiviral drug Avigan amid doubts about its effectiveness in treating new coronavirus infections.

“It is important for the Philippines to participate and contribute to the knowledge base for this investigational drug,” Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

According to the Health official, the Philippines is readying for the conduct of clinical trials for the antiviral drug, which will be tested on 80-100 patients in three medical facilities.

She added that they acknowledge the lack of evidence for Avigan’s efficacy, but stressed that its clinical trials are still ongoing.

Last week, Japanese media reports said that based on interim results of clinical trials, Avigan was not effective in treating the virus.

President Rodrigo Duterte expressed the country’s interest in participating in the clinical trials during his virtual summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other Asian leaders last April.

Avigan, also known as favipiravir, was developed by Fujifilm Toyama Co. Ltd. It is seen as a candidate drug for treating mild COVID-19 symptoms. - Florenda Corpuz

(Photograph courtesy of ©FUJIFILM Corporation)