A clinical trial on the use of Ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be conducted in the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced on Monday night, April 19.
In a meeting with President Duterte, DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said he and Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III agreed last Saturday, April 17 to push through with the clinical trial with the Department of Health (DOH) allocating funds for it.
“Nung Sabado nagkaroon kami ng kasunduan na hahanap na ng eksperto na magsasagawa ng clinical trial. Ngayon nga po yung iddistribute ko na one-page briefer nagsasaad dito kung sino ang puwede mag-lead nung clinical trial sa Ivermectin na ikukumpara dun sa ibang standard of care, (Last Saturday, we have agreed that we will look for expert who will conduct the clinical trial. Now I will distribute a one-page briefer showing who will lead the clinical trial on Ivermectin that will be compared from other standard of care) ” he said in a meeting with President Duterte on Monday night.
He said the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila- Philippine General Hospital (PGH) was being eyed to conduct the trial with Dr. Aileen Wang as its lead person. In 2019, Wang was chosen as the Most Outstanding Researcher of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians.
During a televised public briefing on April 12, de la Peña said they may conduct a clinical trial if they receive such request from the DOH and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The DOST chief noted that clinical trial projects will require a minimum of six months. He said if more volunteers will participate, the trial can be expedited.
“Ang plano po dito ay yung mga quarantine centers na malapit sa PGH ang magsasagawa nito. Meron na rin pong inallocate na pondo ang DOH para dito sa clinical trial na yan, (The plan here is that the quarantine centers near the PGH will be involved. The DOH has allocated funds for that clinical trial),” he said.
“Hopefully po, pag natapos ang trial na yan mas magkaroon tayo ng reliable estimates ng epekto ng Ivermectin bilang isang anti-viral agent na makapapagreduce po ng virus shedding sa mga mild at moderate patients at makikita natin ng epekto ng Ivermectin dun sa haba ng hospitalization ng iba (Hopeful, when this trial is completed we will have more reliable estimates on the effect of Ivermectin as an anti-viral agent that should reduce virus shedding among mild and moderate patients and we will seet he effect of Ivermectin on the duration of hospitalisation of others),” he added.
In a statement issued on April 9, the DOST said conducting a clinical trial on the use of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 will not be needed in the country, citing that there are almost 20 completed and 40 ongoing clinical trials around the world as reported in clinicaltrials.gov exploring the use of Ivermectin formulations against COVID-19.