Guyana using new drugs to treat COVID-19


In December, Guyana started using a COVID-19 treatment drug baricitinib to help treat some hospitalised patients who were experiencing the more severe symptoms of COVID-19. By next week, the country could start using another drug known as molnupiravir.

“We recognised that it had good potential and we imported baricitinib into the country and started using it for our patients,” Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony said on Wednesday during his daily COVID-19 update.

He also said that the use of this drug has been yielding good treatment results so far.

The World Health Organization (WHO) began recommending the use of baricitinib last week.

“…baricitinib, is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical COVID-19.

“It is part of a class of drugs called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors that suppress the overstimulation of the immune system. WHO recommends that it is given with corticosteroids,” WHO said in a January 14 statement.

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony

Additionally, Dr. Anthony highlighted that in about a week’s time, Guyana is expected to receive a new COVID-19 pill- the molnupiravir- to treat more seriously ill patients.

This pill has been developed by US-based Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and was first used in Britain to treat COVID-19 patients. Previously, Dr. Anthony explained that 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.

The government is also eyeing paxlovid, another COVID-19 pill that is provided by Pfizer Inc. Because there is a high demand for this pill globally, however, Dr. Anthony said that the country will have to wait until those pills are made available.

Currently, there are about 143 patients hospitalised across Guyana after experiencing the more serious and life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19.

And 18 of those patients are receiving critical care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Infectious Disease hospital at Liliendaal, Georgetown. The COVID-19 drugs are expected to significantly aid the patients’ treatment and recovery.

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