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P18M allocated for Avigan clinical trials - Duterte

Some P18 million will be spent by the Department of Health (DOH) for clinical trials on the efficacy of anti-flu drug Avigan on treating patients with COVID-19, President Rodrigo Duterte told Congress on Monday.

Duterte also said three sites have been identified for the clinical trials with a target of 80 to 100 patients. The President did not specify the sites.

As of May 12, Duterte said there were 24 hospitals participating in the World Health Organization solidarity trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of possible therapies in treating COVID-19.

"The DOST [Department of Science and Technology] also conducted exploratory talks for possible involvement in the clinical trials of several vaccine research groups and organizations abroad," he said.

The President said last month that the Philippines is ready to participate in clinical trials and medical studies of potential vaccines and medicines such as Avigan, which was developed by Japanese firm Fujifilm Holdings Corp.

He had also offered P50 million as a reward to any Filipino who can develop a vaccine against COVID-19. 

The Philippines has already recorded 12,718 COVID-19 cases, with 831 deaths and 2,729 recoveries based on the Monday data of the DOH. —LDF, GMA News