MANILA, Apr 29 (Mabuhay) — The local clinical trial for the use of antiparasitic drug ivermectin on COVID-19 patients is seen to start at the end of May or in early June, an official from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Thursday.
Executive director Jaime Montoya of the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development said the trial will run for about six months, with Metro Manila being eyed as the venue for ease of patient recruitment.
Around 1,200 patients are expected to participate, Montoya said, adding the trial will target mild and moderate COVID-19 cases who are still in quarantine facilities.
“Based on a review of the Living CPG (Clinical Practice Guidelines) and the recommendation of the World Health Organization, these are the types of patients na insufficient ang evidence for benefit of ivermectin,” he said in an online forum.
Dr. Marissa Alejandria, president of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, said the study will look at whether ivermectin will prevent progression to severe disease and hospitalization as well as lead to a faster resolution of symptoms and viral clearance.
She added that the results from the Philippine trial will be included in the experts’ systematic review of existing evidence, which has so far shown that ivermectin cannot be recommended as a COVID-19 treatment yet.
Montoya also said a local trial for ivermectin will be “very useful” in determining the effects of the drug on Filipinos.
“Maaaring ikaw nga ay maraming trial… Pero iba rin po siyempre ‘yung trial na mga Pilipino ang lumalahok (You may have a lot of trials… but it’s still different when the trial has Filipino participants),” he said.
“Makikita natin paano ba talaga nag-re-respond ang Pilipino sa ganyang gamot at ano bang side effects ang nakikita (We will see how Filipinos respond to the drug and what side effects manifest).”
The trial will be led by Dr. Aileen Wang from the Philippine General Hospital.
Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disclosed that President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a local clinical trial for ivermectin amid calls to authorize it for the use of COVID-19 patients.
Prior to this, the DOST had said that there was no need to conduct a local trial for the antiparasitic drug since there were already several studies ongoing across the globe.
Aside from local health agencies and experts, the WHO, US FDA, European Medicines Agency, and even ivermectin manufacturer Merck do not recommend ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment based on current evidence. (MNS)