Antiviral drug Avigan to be tested on 100 COVID-19 patients in PH
MANILA, Philippines — The antiviral medication Avigan which is used to treat influenza in Japan will be tested on at least 100 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday.
The Japanese government will provide enough supply of the drug to 100 patients, which is expected to arrive in the country “in these coming days,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
She added that the DOH is still formulating the guidelines and protocols for the clinical trials for the drug.
“Ang ating protocol ay ginagawa pa lang but what I can tell you is that the Japanese government is providing us with a supply of this drug for 100 patients,” she said in a Laging Handa online press briefing.
(Our protocol for the trial is still being formulated but what I can tell you is that the Japanese government is providing up with a supply of this drug for 100 patients.)
“Pipili tayo ng mga hospital na isasali natin dito sa trial na ito at doon sa mga hospital na ‘yun, magkakaroon tayo ng protocol kung paano natin pipiliin ang mga pasyente,” Vergeire added.
(We will choose hospitals that will participate in this trial and from those hospitals, we will come up with a protocol on how we will choose the patients.)
Since this is a clinical trial, informed consent from the patients is a must, she said.
“Because this is a clinical trial, the informed consent should be there,” the Health official said.
The DOH will launch the clinical trial for Avigan once supplies of the medication arrive in the country from Japan.
The drug, which was developed in Japan, reportedly yielded positive results in treating COVID19 patients in China, especially those with mild symptoms. It, however, was reported to have side effects on pregnant women.
Japan earlier said it will give Avigan for free to 38 countries and has requested the manufacturer of the drug, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co., to boost its production.
To date, the Philippines has 9,684 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 1,408 have recovered while 637 others have died.
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