(PNA file photo)

MANILA -- The country will no longer push through with the conduct of ivermectin clinical trial, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña announced Friday.

"The DOST, upon the recommendation of the DOH (Department of Health) and the PCHRD (Philippine Council for Health Research and Development) Governing Council, has decided to discontinue the study to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and effect on the viral clearance of Ivermectin in Covid-19 patients," he said in a taped report aired in the afternoon.

The study would supposedly document the local experiences, how participants would respond, and if there would be adverse effects. Over 1,000 non-severe patients are needed to participate in the clinical trials. The figure includes mild and asymptomatic patients.

PCHRD executive director Jaime Montoya earlier said a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial will be done, which may help health experts determine if the drug can reduce the number of days the patient will experience symptoms.

Recruitment of participants was initially targeted at least early June 2021, but was later moved to October 15, 2021.

De la Peña confirmed to the Philippine News Agency that the DOST has started with the preparatory work, but clinical trials have not been conducted yet.

In the taped report, he said the delays on the deliverables, and the lack of clinical benefits of ivermectin based on recent studies, were among the reasons the clinical trial will no longer be held.

It may be recalled that in one of President Rodrigo Duterte's Talk to the People sessions in September 2021, De la Peña told him that the initial analysis was likely to start in December 2021, and that the project might be finished by February 2022.

Meanwhile, the issuance of the recommendation against the use of ivermectin, and the availability of effective therapeutics for the early phases of Covid-19, were the other reasons to no longer conduct the study, De la Peña said. (PNA)