Gov’t continues to seek avenues to procure COVID pills – Health Minister
The government continues to work on procuring two antiviral pills developed to fight COVID-19, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony revealed on Wednesday.
The Molnupiravir pill developed by US-based Merck & Co Inc. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, and the Paxlovid pill created by Pfizer were both granted authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2021.
“What we are working on currently is to make sure we can secure both the Merck drug and the Pfizer drug; so we have been trying to work with different companies to see if we can get that into Guyana,” Dr Anthony revealed during his daily COVID-19 Update on Wednesday.
The drugs are expected to significantly aid patients with COVID treatment and recovery. It will also add to the medication regimen already being used to treat patients experiencing the more severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Dr Anthony reiterated that the government will not be manufacturing the pills locally, but encouraged private companies to do so.
“While we would encourage such an investment the government would not be establishing a pharmaceutical company or factory,” Dr Anthony said.
Pfizer said that it will allow generic manufacturers to supply its pill to 95 low and middle-income countries through a licensing agreement with a United Nations-backed group.
Meanwhile, there are currently 91 persons hospitalised with COVID-19 with 17 of those receiving critical treatment in the Intensive Care Unit.
The Health Minister continues to urge persons to get vaccinated against the dreaded virus.
To date, 83.3 per cent of the adult population received their first dose vaccine, while 62.3 per cent received their second dose and 43, 715 were administered booster shots.
As it relates to the vaccination campaign in children aged 12 to 17, 45.2 per cent have received their first dose and 32.3 per cent their second dose.