PHILIPPINES— The clinical trials on the use of Ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will begin next month, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Wednesday, Aug. 18.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the eight month-long study could be expected by September.
“It has yet to start in September,” he told the Manila Bulletin in a Viber message.
The project was initially eyed to be implemented by the first week of June this year to January 2022. It is expected to be conducted by a research team from the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila- Philippine General Hospital (PGH), led by Dr. Aileen Wang.
The study aims to provide data on the efficacy, safety, and effect on the viral clearance of Ivermectin among asymptomatic and non-severe Filipino patients.
De la Peña bared late June that the Philippines is part of an international consortium that is conducting an analysis of all the randomized Ivermectin clinical trials around the world. The global consortium is spearheaded by Dr. Andrew Hill of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.
In a virtual briefing on June 8, Wang said the clinical trials involve quarantine centers near PGH, the largest COVID-19 referral center in the country.
A total of 1,464 asymptomatic and non-severe Filipino COVID-19 patients who are at least 18 years old will be involved in the study.
In April, the DOST said the clinical trial project will require a minimum of six months and can extend to years, and will involve patients with “non-severe” or those with mild to moderate cases.
In a meeting with President Duterte on April 19, de la Peña announced that a clinical trial on the use of Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment will be conducted in the country.
The DOST chief said he and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III agreed on April 17 to push through with the clinical trial with the DOH allocating funds for it.
The government has allocated P22 million for the conduct of the Ivermectin clinical trials.