Expedite clinical trials on alternative Covid19 medicines — Bongbong

20 September 2021

Former Sen. Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos, Jr. on Monday urged the government to fast-track ongoing clinical trials on alternative Covid19 cure in a bid to give patients cost-effective treatment options and lessen the dependence on expensive imported medicines for the coronavirus.

"Kung mapapabilis natin ang pagdeploy ng mga alternative local anti-Covid19 droga, mas maraming buhay ang maisasalba at hindi na tayo aasa lang sa mga imported na gamot,"  Marcos said in Filipino.

Marcos also underscored the country's rich array of herbal medicinal plants that may treat or potentially cure Covid19.  He also stressed the need to speed up the clinical trials to save more lives.

“Mayaman ang ating bansa sa mga halamang gamot na maaaring magamit na panggamot o posibleng lunas sa Covid19. Pabilisin natin ang mga clinical trials sa mga ito upang mas maraming buhay ang ating maisalba," Marcos added.

He added that while the government is ramping up vaccination efforts, it should not waver in its commitment to finding a locally-manufactured cure for Covid19.

"Kahit abala tayo sa pagbabakuna ng ating mga kababayan, hindi dapat nawawala sa isipan ng pamahalaan ang paghahanap ng panggamot o lunas sa Covid19," Marcos said.

According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), there are three ongoing clinical trials on Lagundi, Tawa-tawa, and Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) as treatment or supportive therapy against Covid19.

Institutions tasked to implement the trials are the Institute of Herbal Medicine, National Institutes of Health, UP Manila for Lagundi, UP Visayas for Tawa-tawa, and UP Manila, and DOST-FNRI for VCO.

The DOST also said on Sunday that UP-PGH is expected to finish its clinical trials on VCO as a treatment for Covid19 patients by month's end.

An earlier trial in Sta. Rosa Laguna for VCO showed that patients who were administered with it recovered faster than those who did not receive it.

Marcos is also pushing to augment the research capabilities of DOST by providing it with more funds to facilitate faster clinical trials for future potential Covid19 cure.

"Palakasin natin ang ating Research capabilities at bigyan ng sapat na pondo ang DOST upang pabilisin ang mga clinical trials sa alternative anti-Covid19 medicines," he said.

Reports of an extortionate pricing for Tocilizumab, an anti-inflammatory drug used in severe cases of Covid19, hogged the news headlines recently, pointing to the interplay of supply-and-demand as the main reason

Marcos also welcomed the government's move to conduct a clinical trial on the controversial horse deworming drug, Ivermectin.  He said if proven effective, we may soon have a viable way to fight Covid19.

"Mabuti rin at magkakaroon na ng pormal na pag-aaral sa bisa ng Ivermectin laban sa Covid19.  Kung mapapatunayang mabisa ito, magkakaroon tayo ng mas murang panlaban sa Covid19," Marcos added.