The government has allocated P22 million for the conduct of eight month-long clinical trials on the use of Ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which will begin in June this year in the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said late Wednesday night, May 5.
“Ang DOH po ang nagcommit ng P22 million para sa Ivermectin clinical trials. Ito po inaasahan natin na makakapagprovide ng data sa efficacy, safety and the effect on the viral clearance of Ivermectin among asymptomatic and non-severe Filipino patients (The DOH committed P22 million for the Ivermectin clinical trials. It aims to provide data on the efficacy, safety, and effect on the viral clearance of Ivermectin among asymptomatic and non-severe Filipino patients,” DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said during President Duterte’s televised briefing.
He said the project will be implemented for eight months from June 2021 to January 2022. It will be headed by multi-awarded researcher, Dr. Aileen Wang of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).
“Magsisimula sa June 2021 kasi itong Mayo ang ginagawa pa nila ay makuha ‘yung ethics approval para dun sa kanilang gagawin at makapagrecruit ng tao, o staff na syang mag-aadmiister ng clinical trials (It will start in June 2021 because this May, they are going to secure the ethics approval for what they will do and they will recruit people, or staff who will administer clinical trials),” de la Peña said.
He said Wang’s team is targeting to get the involvement of 1,200 volunteer participants within the period of six months.
De la Peña said the double-blind, randomized controlled trials will include 1,200 adults at least 18 years and above that are asymptomatic and non-severe (mild to moderate) COVID-19 patients.
“Ito ang pinili kasi ang karamihan po ng pasyente natin talaga ay itong asymptomatic at non-severe (This is the choice because most of our patients are really asymptomatic and non severe),” he explained.
He said the project team is coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and other facilities for the needed volunteers and to utilize the isolation facilities of the PRC.
In a meeting with President Duterte on April 19, de la Peña announced that a clinical trial on the use of Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment will be conducted in the country.
The DOST chief said he and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III agreed on April 17 to push through with the clinical trial with the DOH allocating funds for it.