The Department of Health said on Saturday that the clinical trials for Japanese anti-flu drug Avigan as possible treatment for Covid-19 will start later this month.

“Hindi pa naumpisahan ngayon iyong Avigan trial natin… hopefully itong September makapag-umpisa tayo,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during Saturday’s Laging Handa briefing.

The clinical trials were supposed to start last Sept. 1. However, they were pushed back due to processing delays.

“Kailangan ma-finalize pa iyong ating mga clinical trial agreement at saka iyon pong mga ethics review ng mga ospital na kasama dito,” Vergeire said.

Some studies had found the Avigan drug promising in treating Covid-19. 

Concerns over the Japanese drug have remained, however, as the drug is said to have caused birth defects in studies conducted on animals.

“Atin pong minamadali itong pagproseso ng mga dokumento and hopefully in the coming weeks we can already start with the clinical trial,” Vergeire said.

The country had started conducting studies on local natural products such as virgin coconut oil, tawa-tawa and lagundi. John Ezekiel J. Hirro