MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has approved the clinical trials for the local herb, lagundi, against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said.

"The project aims to determine if lagundi, as adjuvant therapy, can provide symptomatic relief for mild Covid-19 patients without co-morbidities. It also aims to determine if lagundi can decrease the number of patients who progress from mild to moderate or severe case," dela Peña told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview Saturday.

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

"Several studies have also explained lagundi's antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral activities," he said.

Because of these pharmacologic properties, dela Peña said lagundi seems a suitable choice for the symptomatic treatment of Covid-19 patients.

He clarified that even if the DOST has approved and would fund this study, it still needs the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"The FDA 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," dela Peña said.

Once given FDA approval, the project would run for five months and would be implemented by Dr. Cecilia Maramba of the University of the Philippines Manila.

Their target date of implementation is on August 1, as soon as they get the FDA clearance.

"There are numerous studies involving lagundi. It also has been one of our traditional herbs used for cough, which has been scientifically validated to be efficacious for treating respiratory symptoms, such as those in nonbacterial cough and asthma," dela Peña said. (PNA)