MANILA, Philippines — Pharmaceutical companies are looking into developing drugs specific to each COVID-19 variant.
Health experts involved in the clinical trial of molnupiravir in the country said the oral anti-viral pill can help fight the Omicron variant.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, stressed the need for extensive studies to check on the efficacy of the anti-viral pill against COVID-19.
Based on data collected in the previous clinical trial results, molnupiravir is able to prevent the condition of patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms from getting worse.
The Philippines is one of the countries that participated in the global clinical trial of molnupiravir.
According to medical experts and clinical investigators in the country, molnupiravir can help destroy COVID-19 variants of concern like the heavily mutated Omicron.
“The game changer of this pandemic or any other pandemic or any other disease in the world will always be the treatment. Kasi kapag may gamot, mas madaling i-address iyong problemang iyon,” said Dr. Benjamin Co, clinical investigator from the Asian Hospital Medical Center.
“You’re able to diagnose patients early, you are able to treat them even if they are breakthrough infections, and you are able to see patients who are exposed to those index cases,” he added.
“The mutant strains would still respond kasi doon sa core or inner mechanism nagwo-work iyong molnupiravir and not sa surface or sa superficial na spike proteins niya,” said Dr. Joel Santiaguel, clinical investigator from the Quirino Memorial Medical Center.
“Kahit magka-variation na mutation, may changes doon sa spike protein. Active pa rin ang molnupirvir mo against the virus,” he added.
The FDA also said that even the investigational drugs against COVID-19 that are currently being used are able to give relief to patients.
Nevertheless, the FDA underscored the need for in-depth studies to prove the efficacy of the new anti-COVID-19 drugs.
“Iyong mga gamot for severe COVID katulad ng mga steroid, katulad ng tocilizumab, baricitinib kapag severe case, aandar pa rin iyan sa dito sa Omicron,” FDA director-general Usec. Eric Domingo said.
“Pero hindi pa natin sigurado ang ibang gamot, itong monoclonal antibodies at mga antiviral, iyong mga bago kung magwo- work sila, as well,” the FDA chief added.
Clinical investigators invite volunteers for the one-month Phase-3 of the clinical trial for molnupiravir in the Philippines.
They must be 18 years old or older, unvaccinated, and with exposure to a COVID-19 positive person or to an Index Case.
Index cases are mostly economic or medical frontliners who expose family members when they go home.
The clinical trials will check the efficacy of molnupiravir against the Omicron variant.
Blood specimens will be collected from the participants to check the variant that an individual possesses and the effect of molnupiravir on them.
“Genotyping is very important so that we know what the variant of the individual is. Remember when this clinical trial was rolled out, the variants of concern were already rolling out in the world – si Gamma, si Beta, si Alpha, si Delta,” Dr. Co said.
“And that’s the reason why you can see how successful this drug is in addressing the concern of whether it will work or it will not work with SARS- COV2 infection. So far, ang datos po shows that it is very good drug,” he added. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aiko Miguel)