81 Filipino patients join int’l trial for coronavirus drug
At least 81 Filipino COVID-19 patients are participating in an international trial of possible drugs for the severe respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus that has sickened more than 4.35 million people in the world, killing over 295,000 of them.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told an online press briefing on Thursday that the participants were patients in 24 hospitals across the country.
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) said 500 slots had been allocated to the Philippines in the World Health Organization’s “Solidarity Trial,” a search for drugs that could be used to treat COVID-19.
More than 100 countries are taking part in the trial, a study of the safety and effectiveness of four possible drugs for COVID-19—remdesivir, under research for the treatment of other coronaviruses; the anti-HIV lopinavir or ritonavir, or the combination of these two; interferon; and the antimalarial chloroquine.
There is no cure for COVID-19 at present.In a separate briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the trial aimed to prove the anecdotal reports about the effectiveness of the four drugs.
Managing severe, critical cases
If any of the drugs proves effective, Duque said, “this can help us manage more effectively COVID-19 cases, especially the severe and critical ones.”
On Thursday, the DOH reported 258 new coronavirus cases, raising the national total to 11,876.
It said 86 more patients had recovered from the disease, pushing the total number of survivors to 2,337. But the death toll increased to 790 with the deaths of 18 more patients. —TINA G. SANTOS
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