Philippines joins clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments in W.H.O. Solidarity Trial

HSBC Philippines
COVID-19  Solidarity Trial
The Philippines is joining more than 100 countries in the W.H.O. Solidarity Trial. Photo from the Department of Health.

Good news from the COVID-19 frontlines! The Philippines is taking part in a more conclusive “Solidarity” clinical trial test for possible COVID-19 treatments.

The Department of Health (DOH) announced on April 22, 2020, that the participation of the Philippines in the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Trial has been approved by the Single Joint Research Ethics Board (SJREB) last April 17 to support the COVID-19 global response.

The WHO’s international randomized and adaptive clinical trial intends to test the safety and effectiveness of four possible therapies in treating COVID-19.

The Philippines will conduct trials in at least 20 Level-3 hospitals in the country.

More than 100 countries have joined the Solidarity Trial, with more than 1,200 patients randomized from the first five countries to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four drugs and drug combinations.

They are looking at the efficacy of the following treatments for COVID-19:

  • antiviral Remdesivir
  • antimalarial drug Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine
  • antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV Lopinavir with Ritonavir
  • Lopinavir with Ritonavir plus Interferon beta-1a

The Philippines’ representatives in the WHO Solidarity clinical trial is led by Dr. Marissa Alejandria of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM) and President of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, in close collaboration with the DOH.

DOH OIC-Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire will serve as the Health Department’s official liaison for the DOH.

Finally, instead of relying on speculative social media reports of possible COVID 19 cure, there is a substantive effort to find a conclusive and definitive treatment providing hope to the people.

“There is currently no magic drug or known treatment for COVID-19 and there is an urgency to find effective treatment,” explained the USec. Vergeire.

The drugs included in this trial are largely untested against SARS-COV 2 virus that causes COVID-19, and more robust data is needed. “We are optimistic that this megatrial, with over 90 participating countries, will promote the rapid generation of strong evidence for treating COVID-19, and ultimately stem this pandemic,” the Health Department Spokesperson concluded.

“We are glad to partner with the Philippines and other countries around the world to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19. The more countries that will be participating in the Solidarity trial, the quicker we will see results,” said WHO acting representatives Dr. Socorro Escalante and Dr. Tauhid Islam. “We share the optimism of the DOH as we move forward with the Solidarity trial. Let us continue to work together to beat COVID-19.”

Since the onset of the worldwide spread of the coronavirus disease, various researches have been undertaken to help find treatments. Among the treatments explored is the Virgin Coconut Oil derivative research from the Ateneo de Manila University which is now undergoing clinical trials at the UP Philippine General Hospital.

The Department of Agriculture has also advocated local food like malunggay to boost the immune system of Filipinos.

SEND CHEERS AND WELL WISHES in the comments below to Filipino doctors and Health Department working towards finding the best treatments for COVID-19 patients.

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Eldan Sambatyon
Eldan is an experienced online content writer who finds fulfillment in sharing the good side of the news to Filipinos.