DA creates team for ivermectin trials vs. ASF

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2021   •   75

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has created a research team to study the efficacy of ivermectin and other products against African swine fever (ASF).

The Special Order No. 310 was signed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar on April 30 ordering the formation of a research team for ASF control and prevention.

The research team is responsible for preparing proposals on the use of Ivermectin as an ASF booster specifically to look into the “use of ivermectin, ASF Buster, Cloud Feed, and other potential products for the control and prevention of ASF.”

The team will also conduct preliminary field trials of ivermectin and other agents to “produce science-based evidence in support to control and prevention programs of ASF, and formulate and draft science-based policies for the national guidelines in using ivermectin and other agents in the control and prevention programs of ASF.”

The research team is also expected to “collaborate with international research institutions to conduct experiments to support claims in the use of ivermectin and other agents.”

Ivermectin is a popular veterinary drug that has made headlines these days as many believe it is effective to prevent or treat COVID-19.

However, the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration warned over its prescription as the latter has yet to approve human-grade ivermectin in the country.

Under existing laws, ivermectin can only be prescribed to animals.

DA to release SRP on pork next week

Marje Pelayo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to release a new suggested retail price (SRP) on pork next week alongside the implementation of increased tariff.

“We will have a new SRP based on this EO that will set the new tariffs,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

The official added that consumers will surely benefit from the SRP and the supply of pork will be replenished through importation.

Dar added that this is just among the solutions of the government to address the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on the local hog industry.

Coinciding with this measure is the ingoing repopulation of hogs.

Meanwhile, the price of pork in major markets in Metro Manila remains at P340 to P400 per kilogram.

Based on the estimate of the Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA), they can still supply pork at P320 per kilogram retail price.

This is much lower than locally produced meat even after the government’s newly imposed tariff on pork.

“Ngayon pagtaas uli ng 5% siguro baka mga P315/kg or P320/kg. Baka dyan po babagsak ang bagong SRP,” said MITA president Jess Cham.

But for the group, Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG), the price of imported pork should drop further because the cost of importation is way cheaper.

The group argued that the government is losing about P13 billion on tariff thus it is just for consumers to enjoy lower price of pork meat.

“Iyong suggested retail price ng imported ay gawing P200 para at least ay pumunta doon sa consumer yung nawala na taripa,” said SINAG president Rosendo So said.

Currently, DA’s SRP on imported pork ranges from P270 per kilogram to P350 per kilogram. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Clinical trials on ivermectin to start in June – DOST

Marje Pelayo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that preparations are underway for the anticipated clinical trials on the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (May 5), the official said the trials will be spearheaded by pulmonary doctor Dr. Aileen Wang of the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and will be implemented for eight months from June 2021 to January 2022.

He said the Department of Health (DOH) has allotted a total of P22 million for the trial of ivermectin.

It will be conducted on 1,200 volunteer adults, 18 years old and above, who are asymptomatic or non-severe COVID patients.

The team is awaiting ethics approval this month before proceeding with the trial.

“Ang ginagawa ay ethics approval para sa kanilang gagawin at recruitment ng staff na mag-a-administer ng clinical trials,” Dela Peña said.

They are currently coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross for the utilization of its facilities.

Other agents also under clinical trial are as follows:

* Randomized control clinical trial on the efficacy and safety of Tawa Tawa for adjunctive treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients (11 months);

* Randomized, placebo-controlled trial on the safety and efficacy of Lagundi in patients with mild COVID and without comorbidities (10 months);

* Clinical trial on the safety and efficacy of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as adjunctive therapy for hospitalized COVID patients (12 months);

* Beneficial effects of VCO among suspect and probable cases of COVID-19 (14 months, extension included);

* Melatonin as adjuvant treatment for COVID-19 in patients requiring hospitalization (9 months) ;

* Convalescent Plasma as adjunctive therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. (12 months).

Dela Peña noted that the duration of clinical trials for ivermectin is almost similar in period as other agents. The progress of each study still depends on the number of patients who want to volunteer for the trial.

“Kapag dumadami ang pasyenteng magbo-volunteer, mas mapapabilis ang pagtatapos ng mga trials,” the official assured.

BOC-NAIA intercepts 20,000 tablets of ivermectin, other regulated drugs

Maris Federez   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs Port of NAIA (BOC-NAIA) has intercepted undeclared ivermectin and other regulated drugs declared as food supplements and multi-vitamins and multi-mineral capsules.

In a press release dated May 6, the BOC said the shipment was imported by Finstad Inc. from New Delhi, India.

The said drugs including the undeclared 20,000 capsules of ivermectin were reportedly concealed in the inner portion of the subject shipment along with other declared regulated items, it added.

The BOC said that it coordinated with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the shipment.

In her reply to a BOC query, FDA Director Jesusa Joyce N. Cirunay of the Center for Drug Regulation and Research said, “At present, the drug is under compassionate use in Specialized Institutions authorized by FDA through the issuance of Compassionate Special permit (CSP).”

Furthermore, Director Cirunay added, “In case ivermectin has been granted authorization, a valid License to Operate (LTO) as Drug Importer and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) shall be presented.”

The BOC-NAIA team said that in conformance with the directive of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, it remains committed to expediting the processing and release of Covid-19 vaccines, drugs, and other medical supplies.

Moreover, it assured that it will also be vigilant and will further strengthen border security and protection efforts to curb all smuggling attempts to import unregistered, undeclared goods and/or misdeclared goods without the necessary clearance and permits from FDA.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.