THE Philippines will take part in clinical drug trials for COVID-19 in Japan, according to the spokesman of a government task force against the pandemic.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte attended a special summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on the coronavirus disease, where he spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the Japanese anti-flu drug Avigan, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said at a briefing yesterday.

Mr. Duterte reiterated that the Manila would participate in clinical trials of potential vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019, said Mr. Nograles, who is also the task force spokesman.

Avigan is being studied by 50 countries as a possible cure for COVID-19. The Japanese government earlier this month said it would offer Avigan for free to countries that want to use it in treating the virus.

The company that makes drug, a unit of Fujifilm Holding Corp., has pledged to triple production.

ASEAN member-economies pledged at Monday’s summit to focus on research and development of vaccines and medicines amid the global pandemic.

ASEAN also called on countries to boost trade within the region and strengthen national and regional epidemic preparedness and response to any future health emergencies.

ASEAN also agreed to prepare a post-pandemic recovery plan to help boost economies in the region.

Mr. Nograles said Mr. Duterte has asked his economic managers to create a recovery plan that will be enforced once a Luzon-wide lockdown ends on April 30. — Gillian M. Cortez