Guyana looking to buy COVID-19 treatment pill for citizens

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With many of its citizens still not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Guyana Government said Friday it was eyeing the possibility of buying the oral antiviral, popularly referred to as the ‘COVID pill’.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorised Merck’s antiviral pill, molnupiravir, “for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in adults.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said the government was more interested in buying the PAXLOVID, which was found to have a higher efficacy to reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89%.

“So, we are following that and we are working to procure them and get them to Guyana as early as possible,” he said during his daily update.

Dr. Anthony observed that the pill has already been through rigorous clinical testing and trials and has proven to be effective in treating COVID-19 patients.

These are new things and we really would like to have them… especially the PAXLOVID because the efficacy seems to be very good,” Dr Anthony said.

The pill “should be initiated as soon as possible after a diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset,” according to an FDA statement.

PAXLOVID combines a new antiviral drug named nirmatrelvir and an older one called ritonavir and is administered as three pills given twice a day for five days.

Molnupiravir was narrowly recommended by the FDA’s advisers in a 13-10 vote at the end of November after data showed it cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 30% among high-risk adults.

Meanwhile, Dr Anthony reminded that vaccines have been procured and are still available.  They include AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Sputnik, Pfizer and Sinopharm.

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