DOH allots P18-M for trials of flu drug Avigan as COVID-19 treatment

May 19 ------ The Department of Health (DOH) has set aside P18 million for the clinical trials of Japanese anti-influenza drug Avigan as a potential treatment for the new coronavirus disease, President Duterte said Monday (May 18). Around 80 to 100 patients are expected to undergo the clinical research for the use of Avigan in the country, the President said in his eighth weekly report to Congress on the government’s coronavirus response. “The DOH, through its Advancing Health through Evidence-Assisted Decisions with Health Policy and Systems Research, has allocated P18 million for Avigan trials,” Duterte said. “As of 11 May 2020, there are three identified sites for Avigan trials with a target of 80 to100 subject patients,” he added. Also, the President said 24 hospitals will participate in the “Solidarity Trials” initiated by the World Health Organization to search for a coronavirus treatment. Twelve hospitals are already actively recruiting participants. So far, Duterte said there are 87 participants or enrollees in the clinical trials. The government is also exploring involvement in other clinical studies for the coronavirus treatment. “The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has also conducted exploratory talks for possible involvement in the clinical trials of several vaccine research groups and organizations abroad,” Duterte said. Among these groups are the Chinese Academy of Sciences and SinoPharma in China, Academia Sinica, National Health Research Institute, Chang Gu University and Adimmune Corporation of Chinese Taipei. In a virtual regional summit last month, the President called on regional neighbors to enhance scientific cooperation, particularly in the area of vaccine and anti-viral treatment research and development. He said the Philippines is ready to participate in clinical trials and medical studies of potential vaccines and medicines such as Avigan. Duterte also made a pitch for “fair and easy access” to vaccines and treatments for all countries in the event a coronavirus cure and vaccine are found. Source: