The Department of Health (DOH) announced that the Philippines will take part in the WHO Solidarity trial that has been approved by the Single Joint Research Ethics Board (SJREB) in support of the COVID-19 global response.
This is to test the safety and effectiveness of four possible medications in treating COVID-19.
Among the drugs that will be included in the trial are;
(1) the investigational antiviral remdesivir
(2) antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV lopinavir and ritonavir combined
(3) two drugs plus interferon beta, and
(4) antimalarial drug chloroquine.
The Philippines will conduct trials in at least 20 Level-3 hospitals in the country.
Some 500 patients in critical stage of the disease are expected to take part in the trial.
Vergeire reiterated that experts have yet to find a cure for the new strain of virus.
Meanwhile, the country has been working on local and joint international efforts on finding a drug which can cure COVID-19.
The Philippines and Japan have also begun discussing clinical trials involving an anti-flu drug which may be used against the coronavirus disease.
However, the agreement between the countries is still at the initial stages of coordination according to Dr. Vergeire.
The Philippines and Japan are planning to study and test the Avigan drug, which is designed to combat influenza.
On the other hand, the University of the Philippines and the Philippine General Hospital also got the go signal to start a clinical trial on convalescent plasma therapy, which involves using the blood plasma of a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 and transfusing it to another patient, hoping that the antibodies the recovered patient had produced would help the sick patient get better.
Vergeire said UP already started its tests and is seeing good results so far.
As of April 26, there are 7,579 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Of this figure, 862 have recovered and 501 have died.
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