President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the conduct of a clinical trial of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin for use as a possible treatment against COVID-19.
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said he is planning to tap Dr. Aileen Wang of the Philippine General Hospital – UP Manila to lead the clinical trial that could last for six months.
“The minimum period would be six months because the process is rigorous, except if we will have several people to volunteer, then that will speed up the process,” Dela Peña said.
He said a quarantine center near PGH will be used for the clinical trials that will be funded by the Department of Health.
“Hopefully, once the clinical trials are completed, we will have more reliable estimates on the effect of ivermectin as an antiviral agent that can reduce virus shedding among mild and moderate patients. We will also see the effect of ivermectin on the length of hospitalization of patients,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration earlier issued compassionate use permits for ivermectin to two hospitals.
The compassionate use permit, however, only allows the legal administration of the drug in the country and is not a guarantee of safety and efficacy.
“Investigational drugs for COVID-19 like ivermectin are allowed to seek compassionate use permit,” FDA director-general Eric Domingo said.
In the United States, ivermectin is used in mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.