Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III backs the clinical trial of Japan-made anti-viral drug Avigan in the Philippines as part of the government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, crediting such development to Philippine foreign policy of being ‘a friend to all nations’.
This came after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan will provide Avigan free of charge to 43 countries including the Philippines for clinical studies as he wanted the drug approved for use against COVID-19 by the end of May.
“We thank our friend Japan for including the Philippines in the allocation of Avigan, a very promising COVID-19 treatment. I understand that this is for research purposes only. Our government should request for more and make it available to patients consenting to take it,” said Pimentel.
Avigan, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Corp., which has been used in flu outbreaks and the treatment of Ebola, works by blocking the ability of a virus to replicate inside a cell.
“Our policy of being ‘a friend to all nations’ is already benefitting us. Aside from this provision of Avigan by Japan to us free of charge, China has earlier sent a delegation of public health experts to our country to share with our public health experts what they did in China to contain the COVID-19. Even US President Trump has called President Duterte in order to offer additional health and humanitarian assistance to fight the pandemic, ” Pimentel added.
The Senator noted that our country’s friendly relations to other nations have greatly impacted our OFWs especially in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and United Arab Emirates, some of the top work destinations considering their good treatment of Filipino nationals.
“Despite the current focus on solving the COVID-19 pandemic with many countries locking down their borders, the Philippines should continue to pursue and strengthen this independent foreign policy of being ‘a friend to all nations’,” Pimentel emphasized. SENATE.GOV.PH