Guyana eyeing procurement of antiviral COVID-19 treatment pill

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With the recent emergency use authorisation granted for the distribution and use of the first-ever oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment pill, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony said the government is working towards having it here in the “soonest possible time.”

This was revealed during Friday’s COVID-19 update.

The health minister said that the pill, which has already been through rigorous clinical testing and trials, has proven to be quite effective in treating patients experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.

“We really would like to have them…especially the Paxlovid, because the efficacy seems to be very good,” Dr. Anthony said.

Minister Anthony explained that systems have already been implemented to procure the pill, which is to be specifically used as treatment, and not as a substitute for vaccination.

“We are following the news of the availability of oral antiretrovirals… [and] we are working on mechanisms whereby we can actually procure them to get them in Guyana as early as possible,” he added.

The treatment drug is being manufactured by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant also responsible for the manufacturing of the Pfizer vaccine. 

The pill will be used for the treatment of milder forms of COVID-19 in adults and children over the age of 12 and who weigh no less than 88 pounds. 

“The drug will be used for those “who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalisation or death,” the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.

The Health Minister also addressed the decision announced by Israel to offer the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines to its citizens. This, he said, is not something the ministry has at its forefront.

The minister said though the decision made by Israel to adopt such a practice is one founded in solid research, it is still too early for Guyana to make such a determination.

“It’s very early right now and there isn’t a lot of information that is available [for us], and as soon as the studies are published and the data is available, [we] are going to analyse it and make those determinations.”

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