The Department of Health on Thursday announced 500 COVID-19 patients from the Philippines would be joining the trial of drugs against the pandemic virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading the trial in the hope of finding a cure for the respiratory disease, which already infected more than 2.6 million people in the world. WHO researches on the effectiveness and safety of four different medicines against COVID-19.
“Initially, 500 patients ang kasama natin dito sa trial na ito to happen in 20 hospitals in the Philippines. Mayroon sa iba’t ibang lugar sa Pilipinas na napiling ospital, hindi lang dito sa Metro Manila,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual conference.
(Initially, 500 patients were with us in this trial to happen in 20 hospitals in the Philippines. There are different hospitals in different places in the Philippines that have selected, not just here in Metro Manila.)
Vergeire said the trial could start as early as Friday if the documentary requirements are completed.
Solidarity trial of drugs vs COVID-19
“Habang wala pa ‘yung shipment ng gamot maaari nang mag-umpisa, baka sakali sana kapag naiayos namin lahat ng dokumento, makapag-umpisa bukas ang ating proponent ng trial,” she said.
(While the drug shipment is not yet here, we could start. Maybe our proponent could begin tomorrow once we arranged the documents.)
“Gagamitin muna natin kung ano mang mayroon tayong stocks ng gamot dito sa Pilipinas at papalitan na lang pagdating ng shipment galing sa WHO,” she added.
(We will first use whatever stock we have in the Philippines and will replace it once the shipment from WHO arrives.)
She also said the number of patients and the period for the trial could still expand since an adaptive protocol will be implemented.
WHO launched the trial in mid-March, and Norway and Spain were first to join.
Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte offered a P10-million reward for any Filipino who can discover a vaccine against COVID-19.
As of April 22, the country has recorded 111 new cases, nine new deaths, and 39 new recoveries. That brings to a total of 6,710 confirmed cases, 446 fatalities, and 693 recoveries.