DOST okays clinical trials for lagundi as COVID therapeutic

Clinical trials for "lagundi" as a COVID-19 therapeutic or supplement have been approved by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said that the University of the Philippines (UP)-Manila Research Ethics Board has also provided the ethics clearance.

The DOST started in April studying the effectiveness of certain herbal medicines against COVID-19.  Researchers repurposed existing medications or supplements with anti-viral properties such as lagundi and tawa-tawa. 

Tawa-tawa is known as a supplement for dengue, while lagundi is widely used as a cough remedy.

"Alam naman natin na yung lagundi ay tanggap na yan bilang gamot sa ubo, sa mga respiratory ailments at yan ang kauna-unahang halamang gamot na nacommercialize through a DOST research as early as the late 80s (We all know that lagundi has been accepted as a cough remedy as well as for respiratory ailments and is the first herbal medicine commercialized by the DOST as early as the late 80s)," the secretary said.

photo c/o DOST

In an interview last month, Dela Pena said: “You can create new formulations with lagundi and tawa-tawa. Even tough it has evidence in treating other diseases, we will be making a different formulation.” 

The clinical trials will be conducted by the UP-Philippine General Hospital. 

Meanwhile, the application for clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the conduct of the trials is still ongoing according to the agency.

Meanwhile, Secretary Dela Pena said that tawa-tawa, a supplement for dengue, has also been approved by the DOST-PCHRD but has no clearance yet from UP Manila.