The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Thursday, Aug. 19, that the changes to clinical trial protocols have delayed the start of the country’s eight month-long study on the use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
Citing the report of DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the trials are likely to begin by “second week of September.”
DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya reported to de la Peña that “the target date for starting the trial is second week of September with the initial entry of patients.”
Montoya likewise explained the reason why they have to push back the trials to September from August.
“Our original date was August but because of the need to revise the protocol because of recent developments of results from other trials , this has caused the delay. I think this is good because otherwise the study design will be faulty,” Montoya said.
It was reported by The Guardian in July that a major study supporting Ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment was supposedly withdrawn due to “ethical concerns”.
The Ivermectin clinical trials in the country will be conducted by a research team from the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila- Philippine General Hospital (PGH), led by Dr. Aileen Wang.
A total of 1,464 asymptomatic and non-severe Filipino COVID-19 patients who are at least 18 years old will be involved in the study.
The study aims to provide data on the efficacy, safety, and effect on the viral clearance of Ivermectin among asymptomatic and non-severe Filipino patients
The project was initially eyed to be implemented by the first week of June this year to January 2022.
De la Peña bared late June that the Philippines is part of an international consortium that is conducting an analysis of all the randomized Ivermectin clinical trials around the world. The global consortium is spearheaded by Dr. Andrew Hill of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.
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.
The government has allocated P22 million for the conduct of the Ivermectin clinical trials.