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Delayed Avigan clinical trials to start within September —DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said the clinical trials for anti-flu drug Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19 will start within the month after the supposed commencement last September 1 has been delayed.

"We target to start ngayong September, we are just now naghihintay ng mga pending documents for processing," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online forum.

The documents awaiting finalization include clinical trial agreements and insurance policy for those who would participate.

In August, Japan donated around 199,000 Avigan tablets to the Philippines to be used for trials on 100 patients.

Vergeire said a database of clinical trial participants is also being created for effective monitoring purposes.

"Inaayos na po and by Monday ready na po itong database na ito and hopefully the other documents are already ready as well by Monday so that we can immediately start," she said.

The Avigan trial would run for a period of nine months, according to Vergeire.

Meanwhile, the clinical trials on using virgin coconut oil (VCO) for COVID-19 treatment are ongoing.

Vergeire said the Sta. Rosa Community Hospital has been conducting one of the two trials since May 1 and will continue to do so until December 31, 2020. A total of 40 active patients are enrolled, as of September 1.

"Titingnan nila ang beneficial effects nitong VCO sa mga suspect and probable COVID-19 na naka-quarantine doon sa kanilang center o ospital," she said, noting that Medical City Sta. Rosa will also join soon.

The Philippine General Hospital is also doing a trial on VCOs which started on June 1. This will run until May 31, 2021.

"Titingnan ang safety and efficacy ng VCO as an adjunctive therapy for COVID-19," she said.

Meanwhile, the government's negotiations for clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines are also ongoing.

Vergeire said the DOH will be meeting separately with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer as well as the Russian embassy within the day to discuss possible agreements.

Coordination with other manufacturers are likewise rolling, she added.—AOL, GMA News