By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) will soon join hospitals from around the world in the so-called “solidarity trials” to discover possible drugs that can treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.
Dr. Maria Elinore Concha, SPMC chief training officer, said during a virtual presser over the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Davao Region Facebook page on Tuesday that the SPMC had been given approval by the Single Joint Research Ethics Board of the Department of Health to commence the trials of drugs.
She said the hospital is expecting to enroll some of its COVID-19 patients in the trials within the week or next week.
According to SPMC, there were a total of 138 COVID-19 cases as of May 6, 2020. Of this total, 50 are active cases, 67 recovered patients, and 21 deaths.
Concha said SPMC was just one of the hospitals in the country given clearance by the ethics board to join the solidarity trial.
SPMC is the only hospital in the city and one of the two hospitals in Davao Region authorized by the DOH-Davao to treat COVID-19 patients. The other one is the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
Mayor Sara Duterte announced earlier that the local government has been discussing with three major hospitals in Davao to make them as reserve hospitals for COVID-19 patients in case the SPMC could no longer accommodate new positive cases.
Concha told the people to manage their expectation since the “solidarity trials” are intended to test the efficacy of the available drugs in battling the SARS-CoV-2, the name of the new virus that causes the infection.
“When you say research, it doesn’t mean these are miracle drugs, that they are guaranteed to work against COVID-19. This is why it is called research because we need to establish a treatment regimen that, more often than not, can become successful,” she said.
For a start, she added the hospital would be administering chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on positive patients.