Gov’t eyeing COVID pills to help treat patients

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Two antiviral pills have been developed to fight the disease COVID-19 and Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony says that the government is awaiting the licensing of those pills and eventually, using those in Guyana.

“We’re looking at how those pills are being licensed and ultimately if we would be able to source some of these pills to come to Guyana,” the minister said while responding to questions from the News Room during his daily COVID-19 update on Monday.

Two COVID-19 antiviral pills have already been created- the Molnupiravir and the Paxlovid. And according to Dr. Anthony, these pills help to “interrupt” the reproduction of the virus when it infects an individual.

Eventually, the virus would be unable to replicate itself and grow weak until it stops infecting an individual. The disease COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus.

Once approved and secured by Guyanese authorities, the Health Minister stated that the drugs would be used to treat people who have been infected with COVID-19- particularly those who have certain risk factors including comorbidities (that is, other underlying diseases).

“….if we analyse that risk, and we think these people are going to (grow weaker), then it is good to start them on this medication,” Dr. Anthony explained.

It is important to note that Britain became the first country to approve one of the potentially game-changing pills earlier this month, according to a Reuters report. The country approved the molnupiravir COVID-19 pill developed by US-based Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Meanwhile, earlier in November as well, Pfizer Inc stated that its experimental antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89 per cent. The pill is called Paxlovid and the company is hopeful of US approval by the end of year.

On November 12, Reuters also reported that the WHO’s top official for clinical response Janet Diaz said that a meeting of its guidelines development group would consider the question of COVID pills in a forthcoming meeting in three weeks.

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