The Philippines is awaiting the arrival of the Japanese anti-flu drug Avigan to test its effectivity and safety in treating patients suffering from the new coronavirus disease, the Department of Health (DoH) said Thursday.
“We are still waiting if the Philippines is among the countries that will receive this drug,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.
She added that the Philippine General Hospital is preparing the protocols for the clinical trial of the drug, which reportedly yielded positive results in treating COVID-19 patients in China especially those with mild symptoms.
Tokyo will provide Avigan for free to 38 countries as early as this week, including the Philippines and Malaysia, according to the Japan Times.
The Japanese government reportedly requested the drug manufacturer, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co., to boost the drug’s production while offering a $1-million grant to the United Nations Office for Project Services to buy and distribute the drug to countries that requested it.
Vergeire added the government is welcoming studies on the use of lagundi and virgin coconut oil in treating COVID-19 patients.
The Philippines will also take part in the COVID-19 Solidarity Trial launched by the World Health Organization to test the effectiveness of litonavir, ritonavir, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and remdesivir in treating patients.