(MNS Photo)

MANILA, June 7 (Mabuhay) — Oral antiviral drug molnupiravir entered its third phase of clinical trials as a possible treatment for the coronavirus disease 2019 at the Lung Center of the Philippines.

Developed by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP and Merck & Co., the drug could be taken as an oral pill by patients who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms and test positive for the disease.

At present, two patients are undergoing the trial at the Lung Center of the Philippines, which seeks more volunteers moving forward. The volunteers take the drug twice a day for at least five days.

Among those qualified to be included in the trial are symptomatic patients who tested positive within the past five days, aged 18 and above, and have yet to be vaccinated.

The trial is open for those with risk factors and comorbidities such as diabetes, cancer, and kidney and heart diseases.

“That’s part of what we have endorsed. We are open to trials and to trying ito these new interventions to help treat our COVID-19 patients,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire was quoted as saying in a mix of English and Filipino in a report on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

For his part, former Philippine Medical Association President Dr. Leo Olarte said the drug will be a welcome development if it proves to be both preventive and curative against COVID-19.

“Palagay ko itong oral tablet na ito is for therapeutic purposes, talagang gamot ‘to. So meron ka na, na-infect ka na, ito ay gagamitin para gamutin ka, pero itong bakuna kasi is more of prevention, para hindi ka ma-infect nung COVID, so there is a difference between prevention and curative,” he said in the same report.

[I think this oral tablet is for therapeutic purposes. You already have it, you are already infected, and this will be used to cure you while the vaccine is more of prevention so you do not get infected by COVID, so there is a difference between prevention and curative.]

“If this oral medicine can be both preventive and curative, double whammy. It would be better,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino. (MNS)

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