By Analou De Vera
A total of 288 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in the country are currently participating in the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial that aims to find an effective treatment for the dreaded illness.
“As of June 14, 288 ang currently enrolled patients sa loob ng 20 na hospital [As of June 14, there are 288 enrolled patients in 20 hospitals],” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon.
Of the 20 participating hospitals, 18 are in the National Capital Region, one in Davao, and one in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Four possible drugs and drug combinations are being tested in this trial: Remdesivir, Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir with Ritonavir; and Lopinavir with Ritonavir plus Interferon beta-1a.
In a separate press briefing, the Health official also reported that they are eyeing to participate in the clinical trials of vaccines being developed by four pharmaceutical firms.
Vergeire said that four pharmaceutical firms are now in talks with the DOH for the possible participation of the Philippines in the clinical trial of their respective vaccines. One of the four is the China-owned pharmaceutical company, Sinopharm.
“Based on documents and different evidences that were sent to us, there is a potential that we can participate and try them out [there is a potential that we can participate in these trials],” she said.
“Also we will be submitting our intent sa WHO para makasali rin tayo doon sa WHO Solidarity Trial on Vaccines [Also, we will be submitting our intent to WHO so we can participate in the WHO Solidarity Trial on Vaccines],” she added.
Meanwhile, Vergeire cautioned the public anew against the non-prescribed purchase and use of dexamethasone following reports from researchers in the United Kingdom that it can improve the condition of severe and critical COVID-19 patients.
The Health official said the public should not rush to the drugstores to purchase this drug “and take it without the supervision of a doctor, in order to be cured or be protected from the virus.”
Dexamethasone is a type of steroid medication that is currently indicated in the treatment of different conditions such as severe allergies, preterm labor, and as adjunct in certain chemotherapy regimens, she said.
“Dexamethasone is yet to undergo further trials and review, but we assure the public that the DOH is in coordination with the global medical community,” said Vergeire.
“The department remains in close coordination with the different experts both locally and internationally in the search for a cure and other treatments that are safe and effective against COVID-19,” she added.