Reposted from Businessmirror.com
Written by Lyn Resurreccion

THE first anti-dengue medicine in the world may be available by end of next year. And, also significant, it is made by Filipino researchers in the Philippines.

Dr. Rita Grace Y. Alvero, program leader of the dengue herbal clinical trial from Pharmalytics Corp., told the “Talakayang HeaRTbeat” on Monday that the researchers from Pharmalytics and De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute have concluded Phase 1 of the clinical trial for the drug against dengue that they got from three plant components. They are hopeful that it will be approved for marketing by the end of 2020.

“We have completed the preclinical testing. We have completed the safety analysis in animals. We are now in the human testing. We have just concluded the Phase 1 clinical trial. [Based on] our findings, there was no dose-limiting toxicity,” Alvero said, partly in Filipino.

She explained that the last cohort, or people who took the medicine, took 106 capsules of 400 mg of its three plant components and no toxicity was observed.

“We will probably start Phase 2 and Phase 3 by the first quarter of next year. We will end by the third quarter. [Then] we will apply for marketing authorization. Hopefully, by the end of 2020, the anti-dengue drug may be out [in the market],” Alvero explained in citing the details of the process of making the drug.

Her announcement was met with a round of applause from Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officials, including Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara and Director Dr. Jaime Montoya of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), and experts Dr. Gisela Concepcion of University of the Philippines-Diliman, Dr. Irene Villaseñor of UP Diliman and Dr. Renato Reyes of Central Luzon State University, who were present during the forum.

She clarified that it will not be a herbal supplement.

“It is a drug. That means it has a scientific basis to back up the efficacy of the anti-dengue drug,” Alvero explained.

De la Peña quipped: “That will be her [Alvero’s] Christmas gift [to us] next year.”

Montoya said he is “very excited” with the developments in making the anti-dengue drug.

“It is the very first in its class. No country, even the US, has an anti-dengue drug produced. We are looking forward to this,” he said.

The dengue drug project by Alvero started in 2012, for a processing period of eight years.

The dengue research was part of the DOST’s Tuklas Lunas program to produce reliable and affordable medicines sourced from the country’s rich biodiversity.

De la Peña said Tuklas Lunas has 28 centers all over the country and 28 research-implementing institutions. A total of P1.5 billion was invested in the program since it started in 2011.

Besides the anti-dengue drug being developed by Pharmalytics and De La Salle, a herbal supplement against dengue was developed by Herbanext Laboratories.

Herbanext’s herbal supplement from tawa-tawa, under the Daily Apple brand name, was released in August at the height of the dengue epidemic in the country.

Guevara said, “As we continue our path [on] the future of medicine development, DOST wishes to honor our Filipino knowledge and traditions in healing combined with the modern discoveries of research and development. This knowledge is a gift from our ancestors. As such, it will be a guide to learn from past mistakes, open new doors to discovery and provide us with courage to face the future. In this we hope for a tomorrow that will enable our countrymen to have cheap, safe, effective and easily accessible medicines.”

For his part, Montoya said, “We are very optimistic that this will happen. We have the best scientists, we have a rich biodiversity, which is the source of these natural medicines, and we have the support of the government, the Council and the department [DOST]. We have the best pool of scientists, of experts.”

He added: “We are very hopeful and optimistic that in the next few years, we are coming up with the very promising, very effective, affordable and safe drugs that will address the leading causes of morbidity and mortality [in the country].”

Image Credits: Lyn Resurreccion

 

The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health and Development (DOST-PCHRD), in partnership with University of Trieste (UNITS) and Fondazione Italiana Fegato (FIF), send two scholars to Italy for a PhD program focused on molecular hepatology within the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine of UNITS.

Two Filipino students were selected to do their PhD studies at UNITS and work with FIF. The candidates, Noel C. Salvoza, MSc, MD and Loraine Kay D. Cabral, MSc are the first two scholars to be awarded the PhD fellowship program.

Dr. Noel C. Salvoza is a Doctor of Medicine from West Visayas State University. He also holds a Master's Degree in Molecular Medicine from St. Luke's Medical Center - College of Medicine. Both of his degrees were acquired through scholarship grants from West Visayas State University and DOST's Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program (ASTHRD), respectively. He has worked on several researches on natural products, dengue virus, chikungunya virus, and liver disease. He presented some of his research works in both local and international conferences and has garnered recognition in several of them.

Ms. Loraine Kay D. Cabral is an awardee of the ASTHRD scholarship for her Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine degree from St. Luke's Medical Center-College of Medicine. Her works involved biobanking cytogenetics, genetics, and epigenetics of cancer. She made presentations in local and international conferences and has joined international programs for training and internship. She has been an officer and active member of different scientific organizations in the country.

The two scholars have started their three-year PhD program in November 2019. After finishing their PhD program, both are expected to contribute to discovery of biomarkers and diagnostic tools for liver diseases and related metabolic syndromes in the Philippines.  They are also expected to be the prime movers of the soon to be established Philippine Liver Network.  

For more information on DOST-PCHRD scholarship offerings, you may visit: http://pchrd.dost.gov.ph/index.php/programs-and-services/grant-services.



As the national provider of social health insurance in the country, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) conducted the 2019 PhilHealth STUDIES Forum at the Citadines Millennium, Ortigas, Pasig City last 27 to 28 November 2019, with the theme, “Gearing up for the UHC: Generating Research Evidence for Planning and Policy”. The 3rd PhilHealth STUDIES Forum showcased research works that focused on developing the infrastructure and membership of PhilHealth to ensure inclusive and accessible healthcare services.

In the advent of the UHC Law, PhilHealth President, Brigadier General Ricardo Morales asserts the importance of reviewing the system, to identify the gaps where the organization and its stakeholders can act on to achieve the goals of UHC.  “As we start the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, we acknowledge that there are gaps in our knowledge, and we're going to fill in those gaps through research,” he says.

In his keynote address, World Health Organization Representative in the Philippines, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe stressed the importance of research in the implementation of UHC. “We need to recognize that the UHC entails multiple implementation challenges. These challenges can be addressed by insights provided by research data and we need to share what we learned, so there can be knowledge exchange,” he says.

Attended by PhilHealth policymakers, implementers, and other stakeholders, the forum held three parallel sessions focused on: integrated care systems, design mechanisms for the informal sector, and governance system for financing.

On the second day of the forum, five research works conducted by planning officers from the regional and central offices of PhilHealth were presented.  The studies assessed the current healthcare environment in preparation for the implementation of the UHC.  

PhilHealth partnered with DOST-PCHRD since 2015 for the conduct of the PhilHealth STUDIES (Strengthening the Thrust for UHC through Data, Information, and Knowledge Exchange Systems) which aims to strengthen health policy and systems research, thus, increase capacity for research knowledge production and use of research.

The Philippine Association of Medical Journal Editors (PAMJE) Inc. with support from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) and Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors (APAME) is organizing the 17th National Medical Writing Workshop and 10th Writeshop for Young Researchers on  30-31 March 2020 in Tacloban City. The workshop aims to help young investigators in health and health social sciences acquire practical knowledge and skills in preparing a scientific article for publication in a scholarly peer-reviewed journal. Successful applicants will be granted free workshop registration, accommodation, and meals during the workshop, and will be assigned to a mentor-facilitator who will guide them in preparing their articles for a brief presentation.


Requirements for participants

The workshop is designed for a maximum of forty (40) researchers in health sciences and health social sciences, aged 40 years old and below, who have a research project completed not more than 2 years ago and have drafted a publication-ready manuscript of maximum 2,500 - 3,000 words, formatted for submission to a scholarly biomedical journal. Note that thesis, dissertations, and technical reports in original format and length do not qualify. 

The selected draft manuscripts will be reviewed and revised during the workshop, based on the lectures and exercises, under the guidance of the faculty and mentor – facilitators. All participants are expected to present a powerpoint summary of their revised manuscripts on the second day of the workshop and agree to submit the article to an appropriate scholarly peer-reviewed journal within three (3) months after the workshop.

Instructions

Applicants should send the following requirements via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on or before January 31, 2020.

  1. Fill out the application form. (Link: https://tinyurl.com/17NMWW2020)
  2. Conforme slip
  3. Abstract (in .docx and .pdf format)
  4. Draft of Journal Manuscript (in .docx and .pdf format) 
  5. Instructions to Authors for the target journal (This is a free document downloadable from the website of your prospective journal.)

 

Please use this subject format in your email: Application_17th Writeshop_(Surname)
Please save your documents in this format:

 

  • Conforme Slip_(Surname)
  • Abstract_(Surname)
  • Manuscript_(Surname)
  • ITA_(Surname)

 

Application deadline: January 31, 2020
REGISTRATION IS FREE (limited slots only)

The results of the selection of participants for the Workshop will be communicated on February 10, 2020.

Note:

  • Selected participants are responsible for their travel arrangements.
  • Selected participants must show their paid ticket details on or before March 9, 2020, to reserve a slot in the workshop.

 

Should you have any concern, do not hesitate to contact Ms. Christine Alayon (e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; tel. no.: (02) 8-837-7534 loc. 204). 

With the continued commitment of the Department of Health (DOH) in training the next generation of health sector leaders, researchers, policy analysis and program managers, the DOH partnered with Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) to implement the DOH Research Fellowship Program. Aligned with the Advancing Health through Evidence Assisted Decisions (AHEAD) strategy to (1) to increase individual, institutional and sectoral research capacity and (2) to position the Philippines as a global knowledge contributor, the Program aims to establish a cadre of young professionals with the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude to appraise and conduct high quality health policy and systems research that are of policy significance.

With the passing of the Universal Health Care Act, there is a need to further develop a cadre of policy system researchers, technical experts and managers in order to strengthen internal analytic capacity in the DOH and to build health policy and systems research capacity within the sector. In line with this, the DOH Fellowship Program will be expanded in order to capacitate young professionals deployed to the regional Centers for Health Development (CHDs) all over the country.

The DOH Regional Research Fellowship Program is a 1-year term fellowship program intended for early career professionals who are considering a career in research. The Regional Research Fellows will be fully immersed in technical work at DOH regional CHDs and, in turn, will be capacitated in health policy, research and health systems management.

Objective:

To produce a cadre of young professionals in the field of health systems research, policy, data analysis and health systems management at the DOH CHD level

Scope of Work:

  1. Identify research gaps in health policy and systems
  2. Develop and design a health policy and systems research addressing identified research gaps/ health policy and systems issues
  3. Collect and analyze data using a range of quantitative and qualitative techniques
  4. Systematically search, appraise and synthesize research evidence
  5. Communicate evidence to influence policy-making and legislation through the development of policy briefs, policy notes and other knowledge products as appropriate
  6. Apply research evidence in day-to-day practice to improve health policy and systems
  7. Participate in research capacity building activities
  8. Comply with DOH standards and protocols

Deliverables*:

*meant to be completed individually by the fellow, unless otherwise indicated

  1. One (1) individual research paper (can be done collaboratively with CHD staff, but fellow must be the principal investigator, and author)
  2. At least one (1) research brief
  3. At least five (5) technical reports/documents (such as, but not limited to position papers, policy notes, technical presentations, meeting reports, aide memoires, terms of reference and the like)
  4. Timely submission of monthly accomplishment report approved by the DOH management
  5. Other policy and research related technical tasks as may be required

Preferred Qualifications:

  1. At least 20 years old
  2. Residing in regions I (Ilocos), III (Central Luzon), VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), X (Northern Mindanao), CAR (Cordillera)
  3. Graduate of bachelor’s degree in any health-related courses*

*Fresh graduates are welcome to apply.

  1. Fluent in English and Filipino
    1. Knowledge/fluency of different dialects in the region is an advantage
  2. Has knowledge in research and analytical writing
  3. Possesses skills in planning, organizing and managing research
  4. Has proficient computer skills, particularly for data management, technical report-writing and presentation preparation

Duration:

One year, non-renewable

Deployment:

Centers for Health Development (CHDs) Units/Divisions in regions I, III, VI, VII, X, and CAR

Compensation:

PhP 30,000.00/ month

Expression of Interest:

Qualified applicants may file their application together with the following documents at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:

  1. Cover letter addressed to:

JAIME C. MONTOYA, MD, MSc, PhD, CESO III

Executive Director

Philippine Council for Health Research and Development

Department of Science and Technology

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Sample research paper/technical report

Deadline of submission is on or before November 22, 2019.  
Regions I, VI, and VII extended until December 13, 2019.
For queries, contact Ms. Juanita R. Valeza at 8-651-7800 local 1326/1328 or Ms. Ian Hannah C. Gozun at (02) 8-837-7537 local 405.