THE World Health Organization (WHO) wants the Philippines to participate in drug trials to test treatments for the coronavirus disease 2019, according to the Department of Health (DoH).

“We are studying whether the Philippines should join or not,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said at a briefing on Monday.

The WHO earlier said the so-called “solidarity trial” would compare the safety and effectiveness of four drugs and drug combinations against the coronavirus disease 2019 virus.

It said the solidarity trial would include participants from Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan.

The first patients in the drug trial have been enrolled in Norway and Spain, WHO officials said last week.

WHO is testing four of the most promising drugs to fight COVID-19, including malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, an antiviral compound called Remdesivir, a combination of HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir, and a combination of those drugs plus interferon-beta.

The virus has sickened about 724,000 people worldwide, with at least 34,000 deaths. About 152,000 patients have recovered. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas