DOH: Avigan clinical trial to start next week

Photo by Nini Cabaero/SunStar
Photo by Nini Cabaero/SunStar

THE Department of Health (DOH) announced Saturday, September 5, that the clinical trial for Japanese antiviral drug Avigan as treatment for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will begin next week.

The Philippines received the antiviral medicine from Japan on August 6. Avigan was allotted for 100 patients as part of Tokyo's emergency grant aid to countries severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a Laging Handa public briefing Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH is already finalizing the necessary documents for the research.

“Hindi pa ho naumpisahan ngayon iyong Avigan trial natin (It has not yet started). It’s set to start, hopefully ito pong September makapag-umpisa po (hopefully we can start this September),” she said.

“Kailangan pong ma-finalize pa ho iyong ating mga clinical trial agreement at saka iyon pong mga ethics review ng mga ospital na kasama dito. So atin pong minamadali itong pagproseso ng mga dokumento (We need to finalize first the clinical trial agreement and ethics review of the hospitals. So we are fast-tracking the processing of documents) and hopefully in the coming weeks, we can already start with the clinical trial,” she added.

Vergeire earlier explained that a “database,” which will monitor the health status of trial participants, is needed for the trial.

“Every time that we do a clinical trial, meron ho dapat na database para ipapasok lahat ng participants with all their details and also the monitoring of the effects of these medicines doon po sa ating mga pasyente,” she said.

(Every time that we do a clinical trial, there has to be a database that will contain all the details about the participants and the effects of these medicines on the patients.)

“So inaayos na po natin ito, and by Monday, ready na po itong database na ito (So we are preparing the database, and by Monday, September 7, it will be ready). Hopefully, the other documents are already ready, as well by Monday so that we can immediately start,” she added.

Vergeire also disclosed that the DOH already had a meeting with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the Russian embassy to discuss their candidates for the “Sputnik” vaccine.

“Kahapon po nakipag-meeting kami sa Pfizer ‘no and we met with their top officials. Sila po ay nagbigay ng kanilang proposal at ang Pilipinas naman, through the Secretary of Health, Secretary of DOST [Department of Science and Technology] ay nakipag-usap po ukol dito,” Vergeire said.

(We met with the top officials of Pfizer yesterday. They gave their proposal and the Philippines' secretary of health and DOST have already discussed the proposals.)

"So pagkatapos po, pag-uusapan po kung ano po ang magiging arrangement. So wala pa ho tayo talagang final na agreement with Pfizer," she added.

(After that, they will talk about the arrangement. We don't have a final agreement with Pfizer yet.) (SunStar Philippines)


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