An experimental Covid-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters May 17, 2021. [Merck & Co Inc/Handout via Reuters]
Greece is bolstering its defenses against Covid-19 and helping ease the pressure on the national health system with the introduction of home deliveries of antiviral drugs to high-risk patients, which began last Tuesday. These antivirals are prescribed in the early stages of the disease and their purpose is to prevent a serious deterioration.
Patients have shown a strong interest and already in the first three days of the program’s implementation, 384 applications were submitted for the procurement of the drugs. Most of these applications (359) were approved and the drugs were delivered by courier to the patients.
However, experts have been quick to stress that the new drug options can in no way replace the role of vaccines.
“The availability of new treatments should not be a cause for complacency about vaccinations,” Deputy Health Minister Mina Gaga said in comments to Kathimerini.
“The vaccine remains our main weapon in the fight against the pandemic,” she said, adding that “new antiviral drugs, if given in the first few days after diagnosis, can help older people with serious health problems who are at risk for serious illness.”
Greece currently has 5,700 doses of Molnupiravir antivirals by Merck (MSD) available and will receive an additional 25,000 doses as soon as the drug is approved by European regulators, which is expected within a month.
Eligible patients are those with a positive rapid or molecular test, while the application must be submitted within three days from the time of diagnosis.
It is administered mainly to people over the age of 65, those with a body mass index over 35, transplant recipients, hemodialysis patients, cancer patients and people with chronic kidney or liver disease, diabetes, hypertension, respiratory disease or heart failure, etc.
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