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The ivermectin conundrum

"People are desperate."

 

Ivermectin, a medicine to remove animal parasites, has become a favorite debate among doctors and pharmaceutical firms. Can it or can it not cure COVID-19 patients?

In fact, two pharmaceutical companies intended to apply with the Food and Drug Administration - IP Biotech, in partnership with Ambica International Inc., announced their intention in conducting clinical trials for the anti-parasitic drug in the Philippines.

The argument of the two pharma firms makes a lot of sense since the upsurge of cases in the country has resulted in multifaceted problems with people desperately trying to find a cure for coronavirus.

While vaccines are the core strategy to achieve what they call “herd immunity” against COVID-19, no one can argue against the need for a supplement, especially at this point when cases are surging such that intensive care units and emergency rooms of hospitals can no longer accommodate patients. The number of fatalities is also growing. In fact, I believe that the number of deaths is higher because the Department of Health reports only those in hospitals.

Several clinical trials are underway in other countries to establish the therapeutic effects of ivermectin, but none in the Philippines. Why? What are our health experts? Santa Banana, In these desperate times, Mister President, there's a need for desperate measures! What’s the Department of Science and Technology doing since its mandate is also to find ways to fight an invisible enemy.

In our Zoom meeting at the 365 Club last Saturday, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, a regular in our meeting, said he had already administered ivermectin to his wife, children, grandchildren and even his security guards. Enrile said emphatically that when it comes to self-preservation, he recommends ivermectin. And so far, JPE said that the result of the drug has been good so far. In fact, JPE says that ivermectin is being used in Africa and its efficacy has been validated.

This view seems to validate what some doctors are urging the government to do. A party-list representative, Mike Defensor, has been handing out free ivermectin capsules in Quezon City.

Last week, the FDA approved a hospital’s application for a “compassionate” special permit for its patients infected with COVID-19. The permit, however, is not for selling the drug commercially since it is valid for only one year or on importation by the requesting hospital.

Until my family doctor, knowing our medical history approves it, I will have to wait for the final verdict of the DOH and the FDA which must step up efforts for the people to take ivermectin. 

The problem, however, is that while some doctors are recommending it as a supplement for fighting the coronavirus, others say that we have to wait for the FDA approval.

Santa Banana, in the wake of a delayed and slow rollout of vaccines in the Philippines, what are the health experts and President Duterte doing? Perhaps the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) should answer this because people are getting desperate.

There must be a final word on the efficacy of ivermectin as a cure. What is important is to consider an affordable and effective treatment to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And since ivermectin seems to provide an answer to desperate people, Duterte should not hesitate to find the right answer.

**

The National Defense Secretary reports that there are only now 32 vessels that can be seen at the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) along the Paracel Islands called Julian Felipe Reef. Some 220 Chinese vessels were seen some weeks ago. I don’t think that should be any comfort to the DND and the Department of Foreign Affairs that have been alarmed with the number of Chinese vessels swarming in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government should not rely on the lies being given by the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines that those vessels swarming along Julian Felipe Reef are there to seek shelter from bad weather. The same ambassador claimed later Julian Felipe Reef is also part of China’s territory.

We may be filing diplomatic protests one after another, but the fact that China keeps on ignoring them is cause for concern. It cannot be denied that occupation of reefs, shoals and islets along the West Philippine Sea is China’s expansion strategy to take control of the entire China Sea.

My gulay, the Philippines cannot be relying all the time on China's good intentions and of Duterte’s unrequited love for China President Xi Jinping. Is Duterte’s pivot to China all worth it? I don’t think so at the rate China is bullying us.

Now comes the big questions: If China ever invaded the Philippines since that seems to be its intent at the rate Chinese vessels are incursion into Philippine waters, will the United States honor the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. Will the US come to our defense?

I asked this question of JPE, who was secretary of national defense for a long time, and he said categorically, “no.” When I ask why JPE said, “because the US must have the consent of the US Congress." Considering the fact that Congress is divided, it is really difficult to give a categorical answer. The US has a lot to lose.

It is for this reason why the Philippines should not always be depending on the United States for help under the MDT, we can never be sure of the United States fulfilling its obligations under the MDT.

What then should we do? My answer is to strengthen our military. It may take a long time, but that seems to be the only answer.

Topics: Emil Jurado , Ivermectin , COVID-19 , Food and Drug Administration , IP Biotech , Ambica International Inc.
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