DOST to launch study on COVID vaccine brand mixing by June

Marje Pelayo   •   May 25, 2021   •   120

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced that it is launching a study into the mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccine brands.

DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said this mix and match project is a clinical trial agreed upon by the Department of Health (DOH) and the DOST to determine what will happen to the immunogenicity of a patient if his or her first and second doses are of two different brands, and if it’s safe specific to the Filipino ethnicity.

“Dalawang klase po ito. Iyong isa po ay ang first brand mo o dose ay iba sa second dose brand mo,” Guevarra said during the Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday (May 25).

“Iyong pangalawa ay nabigyan ka ng first at second dose ng parehong brand, titingnan kung pwede ka magkaroon ng booster na ibang brand,” she added.

The trials will be conducted using the vaccines available in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

It will run for 18 months, Guevarra said, but initial results will be issued after three months into the study to advise the National Task Force on vaccines.

The project is expected to start by the end of June or July.

“Sa ngayon kailangan munang pumasa ng ating protocols sa Food and Drug Administration (FDA) para magkaroon ng permit to conduct the clinical trial at kailangan din po silang makapasa sa ating tinatawag na Ethics and Review Board para makapagsimula na po sila ng kanilang study,” USec Guevarra said.

As for the safety of the participants, the official assured that they will be properly oriented to the risks and benefits of joining as volunteers in the study.

“Kasama sa protocol na isasubmit ng ating mga researchers sa FDA ay kung ano ang gagawin nila in case of emergency, kung magkaroon ng adverse event, at iba’t iba pang posibleng sitwasyon,” Guevarra noted.

“Kaya asahan nyo po na kung magpa-participate kayo dito ay sisiguraduhin po natin ang inyong safety,” she assured.

VCO as treatment for COVID-19 needs further study — DOST

Marje Pelayo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) cannot confirm yet whether virgin coconut oil (VCO) can treat COVID-19 based on current studies being conducted.

DOST Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Jaime Montoya said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved VCO as a food supplement.

“Pero po para gamitin siya sa COVID-19 — although meron na po tayong pag-aaral na ito po ay nakatutulong para mas mabilis gumaling ang ating mga pasyente na may COVID-19— kailangan pa po natin gumawa ng karagdagang pag-aaral para maunawaan kung paano ito ginagawa ng VCO,” Montoya said.

“Huwag po tayong dedepende muna sa VCO para gumamot ng COVID-19, karagdagan lang po ito,” he said, adding that the application with the FDA also needs updating.

As for the initial results, the official said they have received positive feedback from the ongoing clinical trial which has been acknowledged already by the International Journal of Functional Foods.

“Nakatulong po ito upang mas mabilis na mawala ang mga sintomas,” he said of the clinical trial conducted in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for mild cases of COVID-19.

Montoya clarified that the VCO cannot be compared with COVID-19 vaccines in terms of benefits.

“Magkaiba po ‘yan. Ang bakuna po ay ibinibigay sa mga wala pang sakit and ibinibigay ‘yan para hindi sila magkasakit,” he said.

“Ang VCO po ay kasalukuyan pinag-aaralan natin kung may natutulong sa paggaling ng mga mayroong COVID-19,” Montoya explained.

He reiterated that the public still needs to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19.

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.

DOST to start clinical trial on ivermectin by end of May

Marje Pelayo   •   May 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Following order from President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will launch a clinical trial on anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to determine its effectiveness in treating coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to DOST- Philippine Council for Health, Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya, the clinical trial is likely to begin in the last week of May or first week of June this year.

Montoya said the research team has already discussed the procedures of the trial and where it will be conducted as well as the members that will be involved.

The plan will be submitted to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for issuance of permit.

The trial will use ivermectin in tablet form which can be sourced from local manufacturers or possibly abroad wherever it is available.

The duration and the results of the trial will depend on the condition of volunteer patients with mild and moderate symptoms of COVID-19 and those quarantined in facilities managed by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in Metro Manila.



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