The Philippines announced yesterday that it will participate in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) clinical trials in the global search for the elusive antidote to the coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19).

Called the “Solidarity Trial”, the urgent global search for medicines that can cure COVID-19 will involve multi-country clinical trials.

Hitting the one million number of global cases yesterday, WHO in cooperation with its member countries has been speeding up  clinical trials to come up with an off-label drug that can address the new strain of coronavirus.

More than 45 countries will participate in the clinical trials including Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand.

Included in the trial will be four different drugs and its combination — remdesivir, lopinavir and ritonavir combined, two drugs plus interferon beta, and chloroquine.

While Remdesivir has been administered in the treatment of the Ebola virus, the combination of ritonavir and lopinavir is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus( HIV) infections. 

Interferon-beta is a molecule utilized to manage inflammation in the body while chloroquine was made to treat malaria.

Representing the Philippines will be Dr. Marissa Alejandria, President of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases while Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire will act as the Department of Health (DOH) liaison for WHO.

The first batch of patients to be tested is already enrolled in the program. (Jojo Mangahis)