DOH eyeing July clinical trials of Japanese anti-viral drug

By: Daphne Galvez - Inquirer.net | June 23,2020 - 01:24 PM

Anti-influenza Avigan tablets (AFP/file photo)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health  (DOH) is hoping to start clinical trials for Avigan, an antiviral medication for COVID-19 patients from Japan next month.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday said the department is only waiting for approval and clearance from the ethics committee and a regulatory clearance from the Food and Drug Authority before it could start the trial.

“Hopefully, pagdating ng July, mga second or third week, makakapag-umpisa na tayo ng Avigan trial,” she told reporters in an online media forum.

(Hopefully we could start the trial by the second or third week of July.)

The DOH has earmarked P18 million for the trial of Avigan, according to President Rodrigo Duterte’s eighth report to Congress on his administration’s response to the new coronavirus crisis.

Avigan, or favipiravir, is a Japanese prescription medication that is used to treat influenza.

The antiviral drug reportedly yielded positive results in treating mild cases of COVID-19 in China.

Earlier, the DOH said Avigan would be tested on at least 100 COVID-19 patients in the country and that the Japanese government would provide the Philippines with supplies of the medicine.

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