MANILA, May 6 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines has committed at least P22 million to conduct an 8-month clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of ivermectin against COVID-19.

According to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Sec. Fortunato dela Peña, the Department of Health will cover the costs of the trials.

Dr. Aileen Wang of the UP-PGH Department of Medicine will lead the panel that will handle the trial to run from June to January 2022.

Dela Peña said the veterinary anti-parasitic drug will be tested for efficacy, safety, and effect on 1,200 asymptomatic and non-severe Filipino coronavirus patients, who are at least 18 years old.

“Karamihan po ng pasyente natin talaga ay itong asymptomatic and non-severe,” he explained in a taped public briefing on Wednesday.

Dela Peña said the DOST is coordinating with Sen. Richard Gordon and the Philippine Red Cross for facilities to hold the ivermecin trials.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST’s research arm, earlier said the focus will be on Metro Manila as it has the most number of infections and would be easier to follow up on participants.

The department would finish its trial whether or not the Food and Drug Administration has allowed human use of the veterinary drug, he added.

The FDA has so far allowed only 5 hospitals to use ivermectin as an investigational drug to treat COVID-19.

Dela Peña, meanwhile, announced the timetables of clinical trials for the following:

tawa-tawa (11 months)

lagundi (July 13,2020 – May 12, 2021; 11 months)

virgin coconut oil for hospitalized COVID-19 patients (June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021; 12 months)

VCO for suspect and probable COVID-19 cases (May 1, 2020 – June 31, 2021; 14 months or more)

melatonin (September 7, 2020 – June 6, 2021; 9 months)

convalescent plasma (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021; 12 months) (MNS)

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