MANILA, Sept 5 (Mabuhay) — The clinical trial for the Japanese antiviral drug Avigan is expected to begin in the next few weeks once the Department of Health (DOH) finalizes the necessary documents for the research.

“Hindi pa nauumpisahan ‘yong Avigan trial natin… Atin pong minamadali ang pag-proseso ng mga dokumento, hopefully in the coming weeks we can already start with the clinical trial (We haven’t started the Avigan trial yet… We’re expediting the processing of documents and hopefully in the coming weeks we can already start with the clinical trial),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday.

Vergeire said the DOH is still finalizing the clinical trial agreements while the participating hospitals have yet to conclude their ethics review.

Last August 6, the Philippine government received the antiviral medicine, allotted for some 100 patients as part of Tokyo’s emergency grant aid to countries severely affected by the pandemic.

Some researches revealed that Avigan, developed by a subsidiary of Japan-based Fujifilm Holdings Corp., is seen as an effective drug in treating Covid-19.

It has drawn interest from many countries for its potential to counter viral replication. However, health experts cautioned against its use because the drug has one dangerous potential side effect — birth defects.  (MNS)

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