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Delay hits start of Avigan clinical trials in Philippines

The clinical trials for anti-flu drug Avigan did not start as scheduled on Tuesday, September 1, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday.

Vergeire said this was because three hospitals participating in the clinical trials have yet to finish their ethics review on Avigan.

“Hindi ito naumpisahan kahapon kasi nagkaroon ng delay sa approval ng ethics review ng identified hospitals na kasama: iyong Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, Sta. Ana Hospital at Quirino Memorial Medical Center,” Vergeire said.

The fourth hospital participating in the trial, Philippine General Hospital, has also yet to start the Avigan trial since the memorandum of agreement on the initiative is still undergoing legal review in UP Manila.

“We got inputs of legal officers [on the Avigan clinical trial], pipirmahan na lang po ni [Health] Secretary [Francisco Duque III]. Once the process is done we will immediately start,” Vergeire said.

Vergeire said that the clinical trials on Avigan drug will be administered on 100 patients.

The Avigan clinical trials were supposed to start in mid-August but it was moved to September 1.

The Department of Health will spend some P18 million for clinical trials on the efficacy of anti-flu drug Avigan on treating patients with COVID-19.

Vergeire also said that Phase 3 of clinical trials of Russian-made possible anti-COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in the Philippines is yet to be scheduled since Philippine authorities are yet to be informed if Phase 3 of such trial already started in Russia.

“Yung Sputnik V, hindi pa nag-uumpisa. Dapat mag umpisa iyong Phase 3 sa Russia ng August, but we have no information on that yet,” Vergeire said.

“Ang na-approve pa lang sa Russia ay yung for emergency use ng Sputnik V on their healthcare workers, and so our vaccine experts are still studying the Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Sputnik V trials,” she added.

The Philippines has 224,264 COVID-19 cases as of September 1. Of this number, 158,012 recovered while 3,597 died.

The number of active COVID-10 cases is at 62,655. --KBK, GMA News