As cases of the outbreak in the Philippines surpass the 7,000 mark, health authorities have begun coordinating with Japan for planned clinical trials of a possible drug treatment.
The two countries are now in the initial stages of coordination regarding the planned clinical trials of Avigan, which is also known as Faviravir. This is a Japanese anti-influenza drug that is being touted as a promising treatment for patients infected by the pandemic.
PH-Japan Hold Initial Talks About Avigan Trials
During a Laging Handa press briefing on Saturday, 25th April 2020, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said: “Nagkaroon po tayo ng kasunduan sa government of Japan… kung magiging clear po ang ating arrangement, ito pong isang gamot ay Avigan pero nasa initial stages of coordination pa lang tayo (We had an agreement with the government of Japan… once the arrangement is made clear, the medicine would be Avigan, though we are still in the initial stages of coordination).”
Aside from participating in the trial, the Undersecretary said that the Philippines is looking at other ways to manage positive case, the Philippine News Agency reported.
“Sa UP (PGH), nag-umpisa na po sila ng kanilang convalescent plasma therapy na clinical trial, naumpisan na sa ibang pasyente at mayroon na silang nire-report na maganda pero hindi pa po ‘yan enough evidence na kumpleto para masabi na ito talaga ay epektibo (At UP, they already started their convalescent plasma therapy on clinical trial, they’ve been reporting good results but that is not enough evidence to say this is really effective),” Vergeire said, citing that UP-PGH is the only hospital in the country with approval to conduct the said procedure.
WHO Solidarity Trial
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to conduct a solidarity trial involving four off-label drugs that are reported to be effective in managing positive cases. As part of this trial, 21 Philippine hospitals have enrolled, as follows:
- Baguio General Hospital, Benguet
- Cardinal Santos Medical Center, San Juan
- Chinese General Hospital, Manila
- Diliman Doctors Hospital, Quezon City
- East Avenue Medical Center, Quezon City
- Lung Center of the Philippines, Quezon City
- Makati Medical Center, Makati
- Manila Doctors Hospital, Manila
- Manila Medical Center, Manila
- Philippine General Hospital, Manila
- Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Muntinlupa
- San Juan de Dios Medical Center, Pasay
- San Lazaro Hospital, Manila
- Southern Philippines Medical Center, Davao
- St. Luke’s Medical Center, Global City
- St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City
- The Medical City, Pasig
- University of Santo Tomas Hospital, Manila
- University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center, Quezon City
- Vicente Sotto Medical Center, Cebu
- World Citi Medical Center, Quezon City
Latest Number of Cases
As of 25th April, the DOH reported 102 new cases, raising the total number of cases in the country to 7,294. The department also reported 30 new recoveries (total now at 792) and 17 new deaths (total now at 494).
Unfortunately, at least 1,101 health care workers in the Philippines — 434 doctors, 400 nurses, 55 nursing assistants, 32 medical technologists, and 21 radiologic technologists, to be exact — have been infected by the outbreak. Of these, 20 doctors and six nurses have died.
Nonetheless, the country continues to increase its testing capacity. There are now a total of 18 laboratories licensed to test people for the disease. As per the latest reports, DOH Undersecretary Vergeire stated that 72,794 people have been tested so far.
As the country — and the whole world, for that matter — continue to battle the pandemic, let us continue to cooperate by following official guidelines. In the meantime, here are some government benefits you can avail during the lockdown, so you can boost your resources.