MANILA/TOKYO – Clinical trials of Japan-made Avigan, a potential drug for the new coronavirus, are set to begin in the Philippines soon.
Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday that the antiviral drug developed by Fujifilm Toyama Co. Ltd. will be tested on 100 patients.
“Ang ating protocol po ay ginagawa pa lang, but what I can tell you is the Japanese government is providing us with supply of this drug for 100 patients,” she said in a “Laging Handa” online press briefing.
“So pipili po tayo ng mga ospital na isasali natin dito sa trial na ito, at doon po sa mga ospital na iyon, magkakaroon po tayo ng protocol kung paano natin pipiliin naman ang mga pasyente. Ang importante po dito ay because this is a clinical trial, the informed consent should be there,” the Health official added.
Vergeire said the DOH is expecting the arrival of the drug in the coming days.
“Patuloy po ang pakikipag-ugnayan natin sa Japan para po rito sa ating supply of this drug na ipapadala naman po nila. Nakapagbigay na po sila ng go signal para po rito.”
The Philippines is one of the 43 countries that will be provided by the Japanese government with Avigan at no cost in the hopes of treating patients infected with the new coronavirus.
Researchers in China suggested that the drug, also known as Favipiravir, had been effective in treating COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. However, it was reported to cause side effects on pregnant women.
As of May 6, the Philippines has 10,004 COVID-19 cases, of which 1,506 have recovered while 658 others have died. - Florenda Corpuz
(Photograph courtesy of ©FUJIFILM Corporation)