The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the clinical trials for the local herb lagundi as a mode of adjuvant therapy, the chief of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Friday.

“It was earlier approved by the DOST, and now the FDA also approved the conduct of the clinical trials,” Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said in a taped report.

Earlier, he noted that every clinical trial needs the approval of the FDA, as it will further evaluate and ensure full protection of human subjects’ rights and safety, and the integrity of clinical trial data through the adoption and implementation of international standards on good clinical practice.

De la Peña said three quarantine centers have agreed to participate in clinical trials on lagundi.

These are the Quezon Institute Quarantine Center, Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila, and PNP-NCR Community Quarantine Center.

“The project team has also coordinated with selected community quarantine centers where the study shall be conducted,” he said.

At present, de la Peña has yet to respond to the target number of participants, and if the DOST would still need more volunteer quarantine centers or hospitals.

In a previous interview, de la Peña said this project aims to determine if lagundi, as adjuvant therapy, can provide symptomatic relief for mild coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) without co-morbidities.

The study also aims to determine if lagundi can decrease the number of patients who progress from mild to moderate or severe cases, he added.

He earlier said lagundi tablet or syrup is a proven bronchodilator with its registered indication for the treatment of cough, and that the common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, cough, sore throat, myalgia, and fatigue.

Because of these pharmacologic properties, lagundi seems a suitable choice for the symptomatic treatment of Covid-19 patients, de la Peña said. (PNA)