Regulator bars sale of local antiviral drug

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THE Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked the maker of a local antiviral drug to stop selling it as a cure for the novel coronavirus, according to the Department of Health (DoH).

Fabunan antiviral injection is an unregistered product and has not been approved by the food and drug regulator, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said in a Viber group message.

“The DOH is open to endorse treatments that have gone through rigorous studies,” she said, adding that the government wants local scientists who have developed a vaccine to seek FDA approval.

“We do this for the protection of the public, as many unregistered products have proliferated globally which might hurt people and even cause death,” she added.

Fabunan antiviral injection has an active group on Facebook and its members have endorsed it as a cure for the coronavirus disease 2019.

Socorro Escalante, COVID-19 incident manager at the World Health Organization-Western Pacific Region, last month said vaccine development could take at least one-and-a-half years.

The Philippines has participated in the Solidarity Trial of the WHO to test the safety and effectiveness of four possible drugs to treat COVID-19. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas