PH coronavirus cases near 13,000, with deaths now at 837

The number of confirmed coronavirus patients in the country has reached 12,942, as the Department of Health (DOH) reported 224 new cases as of 4 pm on Tuesday, May 19.

The agency reported 6 new fatalities, bringing the total death count to 837.

Meanwhile, 114 more patients have recovered from COVID-19, bringing total recoveries to 2,843.

Of the 224 new cases, 174 or 78% were from the National Capital Region, and 17 or 7% were from Central Visayas, which includes Cebu City and Mandaue City – the only areas in the country that remain under enhanced community quarantine.

The race is on to develop a cure against the coronavirus, and the Philippines has officially signed on to participate in trials for the Japanese anti-flu drug Avigan, the DOH said on Monday, May 18.

The government has allocated P18 million for the Avigan drug trials, which will be carried out in 3 sites among 80 to 100 patients.

The Avigan doses will be donated by the Japanese government. The Philippine government will use the P18 million for expenses related to the trial, including clinical monitoring, and for the indemnity of patients in case of adverse effects.

Avigan is the brand name of the drug favipiravir. It was developed by what is now known as Fujifilm Toyama Chemical and approved for use in Japan in 2014. (READ: Avigan: Antiviral being tested for coronavirus patients)

The DOH earlier cautioned against the use of the drug on pregnant women, citing studies that showed it may result in birth defects.

Clinical trials for the efficacy and safety of Avigan in coronavirus patients started around April, following positive results from China, where the coronavirus originated. – Rappler.com

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