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DOH exec: Anti-flu drug Avigan from Japan to be used on 100 COVID-19 patients in Philippines

At least 100 COVID-19 patients in the Philippines will be given the anti-flu drug Avigan from Japan as part of a clinical trial in treating the disease, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

“Ito pong supply ng Avigan from Japan, ipapadala na po nila, may go signal na po na gawin ang clinical trial in the coming days. The Japanese government is providing supply for 100 patients,” DOH Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said .

“Ginagawa pa po namin ang protocol kung paano pipiliin ang mga ospital at kung sino sa mga pasyente ang isasali sa clinical trial. Kumukuha na po kami ng clearances [para sa Avigan] from different institutions sa ating bansa," she added.

Vergeire, however, stressed that the clinical trial is strictly voluntary on the part of the COVID-19 patient.

“Dahil po ito po ay clinical trial, the informed consent of the patient should be there,” Vergeire said.

The Philippines has reported 9,684 COVID-19 cases so far. Of this number, 1,408 have recovered while 637 others died. 

A total of 41 provinces, meanwhile, have not recorded a single COVID-19 case in the last two weeks.

Vergeire, however, said vigilance is still a must, considering that the country has yet to achieve its target of conducting 15,000 COVID-19 tests per day by May 15 and 30,000 COVID-19 tests by May 30.

“Bumabagal na po ang ating case doubling time from two to three days to five days, iyong ibang lugar nga po at as much as 7.5 days. Magandang indikasyon po ito na nag-uumpisa na ma-flatten ang curve but it is too early to say na na-flatten na ang curve,” Vergeire said.

“Sa analysis po ng mga experts, dapat po magawa natin ang 15,000 to 30,000 COVID-19 tests per day para makita ho natin ang complete picture ng COVID-19 cases sa ating bansa. Kaya dapat pa rin po mag-ingat at mga observe ng physical distancing,” Vergeire added.

Based on DOH records, the country has only tested 119,774 individuals for COVID-19. Of this number, only 10.4% tested positive for coronavirus. — RSJ, GMA News