4 hospitals identified for PH Avigan trials

Sofia Tomacruz
4 hospitals identified for PH Avigan trials

A healthcare worker of Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila on August 8, 2020, shows to media packets of the Japanese drug Avigan as they wait for a go signal from the DOH to start clinical trial of the medicine for COVID-19. Avigan, whose generic name is Favipiravir was donated to the Health Department and will be allotted for patients who will be part of the clinical trial.

Photo by Czar Dancel/Rappler

The Department of Health says trials will run for a period of 9 months

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Wednesday, August 12, that clinical trials for the Japanese anti-flu drug Avigan will take place in 4 hospitals in Metro Manila over a span of 9 months to review its effectiveness as a potential treatment for COVID-19. 

Vergeire said the hospitals identified to take part in the trials are the Philippine General Hospital, Santa Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, and Quirino Memorial Medical Center. 

What to expect

Some 100 patients will take part in the trials which are scheduled to begin on August 17 and will run for 9 months. Trials were set to commence after the Japanese embassy donated doses of the medication to the DOH last August 6 as part of its “emergency grant aid” to countries severely affected by the coronavirus.

The DOH earlier said P18 million had been allocated for the clinical trials. The fund will be used for expenses related to the trial such as  clinical monitoring, and for the indemnity of patients, in case there would be adverse events. 

Clinical trials for the use of Avigan on coronavirus patients started around April, after receiving earlier positive results from China. The Philippines first mentioned the country would receive a free supply of the anti-flu drug from the Japanese government last May. 

Vergeire said the drug had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and was likewise cleared by the country’s ethical board for use. –

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.