The Philippines Department of Science and Technology is set to commence subject enrolment in a clinical trial of Merck’s anti-parasitic drug, ivermectin, against Covid-19 next month, CNN reported. The trial will be carried out in the quarantine centres of Ateneo de Manila University , De La Salle University , University of the Philippines Diliman and Makati Science High School and is expected to enrol 1,464 asymptomatic and non-severe Covid-19 cases patients. Initial data from the trial is expected by the end of this year. In February, Merck affirmed its position that current evidence does not support the safety and efficacy of ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information.

Researchers at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have reported that the potential benefits of the Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine in children aged five to 11 years outweigh the risks of myocarditis, Reuters reported. The vaccine demonstrated efficacy of 90.7% against SARS-CoV-2 in a trial involving children of the same age group. The team noted that the benefit of the shot in preventing Covid-19-associated hospitalisations and morality would outweigh any serious potential adverse events in children.

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will provide funds worth $50m to Indian company Biological E to increase its Covid-19 vaccine production capacity. The latest DFC funding is in line with commitments made by the US during the Quad Leaders’ Summit in March this year, Financial Express reported. Biological E is conducting Phase II/III clinical trials of its Covid-19 shot, Corbevax. Biologic E intends to manufacture one billion doses of its vaccine and Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 shot by the end of next year.