The ivermectin clinical trial in the Philippines will begin anytime in May and aims to finish by the first quarter of next year.
According to Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Department of Science and Technology’s research arm, the clinical trial will target “non-severe” COVID-19 patients such as those asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
Over 1,000 non-severe patients are needed to participate in the clinical trials. This includes mild and asymptomatic patients. Dr. Montoya said, “non-severe cases” have been chosen since most of the cases in the Philippines belong to that category.
“Remember that even asymptomatic cases could get severe. We want to see if Ivermectin could prevent that,” he added.
Dr. Montoya also clarified that their opinion about the use of the anti-parasitic drug for COVID-19 is neutral and the study is going to answer the question if it is going to be useful for Filipino patients infected with the said virus.
A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial will be done, which may help health experts to determine if the drug can reduce the number of days the patient will experience symptoms, said the executive director.
It will focus on Metro Manila as it has the most number of virus infections and would be easier to follow up on participants.
Dr. Montoya also pointed out that trials have varying doses and they don’t know what is the best dose for Filipinos, which is usually the lowest dose possible with the best effect.
“It has to be registered first by the FDA and it has to be based on sound evidence. The WHO (World Health Organization) has issued updates that they do not recommend using ivermectin unless it’s in a clinical trial setting,” he said.
There are currently five hospitals allowed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use ivermectin as an investigational drug to treat COVID-19.