Results of Ivermectin clinical trials may benefit drug developers and the public - DOST

If results are good, drug developers and the public will benefit from the local Ivermectin clinical trials,” said the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for Research and Development, Usec. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.

In April 2021, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) together with the Department of Health (DOH), announced its support for the conduct of local clinical trials on Ivermectin to provide data on the safety and efficacy of the drug in treating Filipino patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. The eight-month project is spearheaded by Dr. Aileen Wang of the University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

In preparation for the start of the trials, the project is working with its own formulation to comply with the existing standards for double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. As explained by Usec. Guevara, the project team will make their own capsules because the trials require the placebo and the active drug to look the same to avoid patient and physician bias.

To standardize the study drugs to be used -- placebo and active drug, the project team has partnered with the UP Manila College of Pharmacy who can develop and compound the local Ivermectin capsules easily in a short period of time.

We would like to reiterate that the compounded capsules to be used solely for the purpose of clinical trials will adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice and Compounding Practice, and will be subjected to tests for raw materials and finished product,” emphasizes Dr. Yolanda Robles, lead of the Pharmacy team of the ivermectin trials.

The use of Ivermectin as medication for COVID-19 became a public clamor for the past months despite insufficient scientific evidence, if the results of this study is good, then the drug developers can use the results of the study for guidance on how to use ivermectin. Eventually, benefitting the public,” emphasized Usec. Guevara.

“We assure the public that our ultimate goal in the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) is to provide them with solutions backed by scientific evidence,” says PCHRD Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya.

Currently, there are 75 registered clinical trials on the use of Ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment around the world. However, as of today, the DOH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still do not recommend the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 due to insufficient scientific evidence.