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PH ready for trial of Japan flu drug for coronavirus treatment

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is ready to participate in the clinical trial of Japanese anti-flu drug Avigan as possible treatment for coronavirus, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Wednesday, April 15.

"During the meeting (we) reiterated that the Philippines is ready to participate in clinical trials of potential vaccines like Avigan," Nograles said referring to the special Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit via video confrence on COVID-19 held Tuesday, April 14.

"According to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, there are 50 countries that are interested in studying this drug further," Nograles added. (READ: Traditional Chinese medicine being studied as cure for coronavirus – DOH)

Japan has been pushing for Avigan since March, driving early interest of countries like the USA. But concerns on possible risks like birth defects worried regulators, according to a report on Politico.

Avigan, also known as Favipiravir, is manufactured by a subsidiary of Fujifilm.

Clinical trials to test the effectivity and safety of Avigan in coronavirus patients started around April, after earlier positive results from China.

Japan has said it can provide Avigan for free to virus-hit nations, according to a report on NHK.

Nograles said Duterte "had an exchange" with Abe regarding Avigan during the ASEAN meeting.

The meeting yielded a resolution that pushes for stronger cooperation among ASEAN nations in the pandemic, including information sharing, and ensuring availability and access to medical tools. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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