‘Solidarity’ trial for vaccines vs COVID-19 to start in December

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THE WORLD Health Organization (WHO) will start its so-called Solidarity trial for coronavirus vaccines in December, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said.

Health authorities would issue more details about the clinical trials this week, she told an online news briefing. The WHO and its partners months ago launched the Solidarity Therapeutics — separate from the vaccine trial — as an international clinical trial to find an effective treatment for COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

It is one of the largest international randomized trials for coronavirus treatments, enrolling almost 12,000 patients in 500 hospital sites in more than 30 countries, the WHO said on its website.

The Solidarity Therapeutics trial is evaluating the effect of drugs on three important outcomes in COVID-19 patients: mortality, the need for assisted ventilation and duration of hospital stay.

The trial compares treatment options against standard of care to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19.

By enrolling patients in multiple countries, the trial seeks to know whether any of the drugs improve survival or reduce the need for ventilation or duration of hospital stay. Other drugs may be added based on emerging evidence, the WHO said.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña told a separate news briefing 12 hospitals led by the Philippine General Hospital (PGH)will be included in the Solidarity vaccine trial.

Only 10 of the hospitals have completed the documentary requirements, he added.

Mr. de la Peña also said they had received confirmation from IG Biotech and its partner Australian Vaxine Pty Ltd. about their desire to conduct clinical trials in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Ms. Vergeire said the WHO stopped the trial of the drug interferon as a treatment for coronavirus because it does not reduce deaths among patients.

She said the WHO included Acalabrutinib, which is used for certain types of cancer, in the trial and the country received its doses on Monday.

The WHO will continue the trial of remdesivir as a treatment for the coronavirus as it gathers more information to support its initial results, Ms. Vergeire said.

The WHO in an Oct. 15 report said remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon “appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients.”

The Department of health (DoH) reported 1,607 coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total to 371,630.

The death toll rose to 7,039 after 62 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 245 to 328,258, it said in a bulletin.

There were 36,333 active cases, 82.6% of which were mild, 10.9% did not show symptoms, 4.1% were critical and 2.3% were severe.

Of the new cases, 90 came from Davao City, 88 from Cavite, 74 from Rizal and 68 each from Negros Occidental and Quezon province.

Based on reports from Oct. 25, 1,490 out of 15,710 people who got tested were positive for the coronavirus.

This was the 10th straight day that cases were fewer than 3,000.

Earlier on Monday, Ms. Vergeire said they have been monitoring Mindanao for rising infections.

“Yes, there is an increasing number of cases in certain areas in Mindanao,” she told an online news briefing.

Ms. Vergeire said Health authorities were discussing how they can better monitor cases in the nation’s south. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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