DoH targets start of Avigan trial on COVID patients this month

The Department of Health is targeting the start of the clinical trials for the Japanese anti-flu drug Avigan on COVID-19 patients this month.

DoH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that they are just finalizing the necessary documents to conduct the trial, which was supposed to start last Tuesday.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“We target to start ngayong September, we are just now naghahantay ng mga pending documents for processing, katulad ng ating clinical trial agreement (We target to start this September, we are just now awaiting for pending documents for processing, like the clinical trial agreement),” said Vergeire.

A database will be created to monitor the health status of trial participants.

“Everytime 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 (There should be a database, where we will put the participant’s details and also to monitor the effects of these medicines on our patients),” said Vergeire.

“So inaayos na po, and by Monday ready na po itong database na ito (So, we are now arranging all of these, and by Monday this database will now be ready). Hopefully the other documents are already ready as well by Monday so that we can immediately start,” she added.

The Health official confirmed that they are meeting US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the Russian Embassy today to discuss their candidate vaccines for COVID-19.

Vergeire said that she cannot yet disclose the agenda of the meetings. She said the Office of the President, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. will meet with the representatives from Pfizer.

“After this, kung whatever details that can be shared to the public, I'll be sharing with you on Monday,” said Vergeire.

The DoH spokesman said that they are continuously negotiating with other vaccine developers.

“Hindi lang Pilipinas ang nagkakaroon ng ibat-ibang pagne-negotiate sa iba’t-ibang manufacturers (It is not only the Philippines that is having various negotiations with different manufacturers). All countries will do that so that they can provide appropriate and adequate vaccines para sa kanilang mga (for their) population,” she said.