The clinical trial on the use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin for COVID-19 patients in the country has been moved again for one more month, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, due to ongoing revisions on its protocols.
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Sec. Fortunato Dela Peña said in a televised Cabinet meeting aired Saturday, Sep. 11, that the agency deferred the start of the trial to ensure compliance with various protocols, such as the similarities in terms of appearance between the placebo and the real Ivermectin capsules to be given to the participants.
“Dahil kailangan maging kumukha ang may kapsula na may Ivermectin at saka yung placebo. Para masigurado natin na tama nga yung composition (The placebo capsule and the placebo containing Ivermectin should be look alike. We also need to ensure their composition),” Fortunato said.
Among other protocols that need to be furnished before the trial begin are the clinical trial management system and coordination with the local government units wherein the trials would be conducted, he added.
This is the second time that the start of the trial was moved. In July, DOST said it would begin on Aug. 1, but was postponed to Sep. 15 due to revisions on protocols.
“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,” DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya said in a recent report to Fortunato.
Fortunato assured President Duterte that the expected eight-month duration of the trial would be “relatively shorter” compared to other countries also conducting the same trial, as there is a simultaneous conduction of every process, such as recruitment of participants.
“Dahil maiksi lang ang duration of treatment ay baka po within six months ay matapos na. By December, magakakroon na tayo ng analysis (Because the duration of our treatment would be shorter, perhaps we can finish the trial in just six months. By December, we’ll already be having an analysis,” Fortunato said.
“‘Yung Philippine trials natin ay international peer review. At aligned ito sa international clinical trial consortium for Ivermectin, so meron po tayong confidence about the methodology (Our Philippine trials have international peer review. And we are aligned with the internation clinical trial consortium for Ivermectin, so we have confidence about our methodology),” he added.
The Philippines is part of the international consortium conducting Ivermectin clinical trials. Other countries doing the same include Iran, India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Brazil, U.S., Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand, Fortunato said.
The trials will be conducted in Ateneo Quarantine Facility, La Salle Quarantine Facility, University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and Makati Science High School Quarantine Facility. Participants of the trial would be symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, according to Fortunato.