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Philippines coordinates with Japan for Avigan drug trial for COVID-19 treatment

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday (April 25), the Philippines and Japan are now at initial arrangements for the drug trial of Japanese flu drug Avigan in search of potential COVID-19 treatment.

“May kasunduan with government of Japan kung saan meron po tayong pagkakasunduan kung magiging clear po ang ating arrangements sa isang gamot naman, which is Avigan. Pero nasa initial stages of coordination pa lamang po tayo,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a public briefing.

Last April 15, President Rodrigo Duterte have already discussed the anti-flu drug Avigan with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a special virtual summit of the Association of Southeast Nations and its dialogue partners China, Japan and South Korea on COVID-19.

Earlier, Chinese authorities said in March that the drug could be effective for treating COVID-19 patients after China's ministry of science and technology said, a trial involving 80 cases conducted by a hospital in Shenzhen and a study of 120 cases led by Wuhan University's Zhongnan Hospital both showed that Avigan gave patients a shortened recovery time.

Avigan is a brand name of the drug favipiravir that has been approved for use in flue outbreak and Ebola. The medication though, is not available in the market and can only be manufactured and distributed upon request from the Japanese government.

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