Experts Tip Govt on New Covid-19 Treatment
Local health experts have tipped government of Malawi to consider including, on the list of drugs given to Covid-19 patients, the two medical drugs which the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended for Covid-19 treatment.
Virologist Dr. Gama Bandawe, a lecturer at Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), and Professor Maureen Chirwa say the newly recommended medical drugs, Baricitinib and Sotrovimab, presents more options in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Dr. Bandawe advises that using the WHO guidance, the ministry of health should quickly start administering the drugs to Covid-19 patients.
“We have got regulative bodies that control the introduction of new medication and what I would suggest is following the WHO guidance that we quickly add these on to our treatment guidelines because the data supporting this is very strong.” Said Dr. Bandawe.
He however advised relevant authorities to ensure the medical drugs are readily available.
“For Sotrovimab, which is a monoclonal antibody, it might be difficult to get it because it is relatively a new medical drug, but for Baricitinoib this is available. So, we should take advantage of this because it is a tool that we can use.”
On her part, Professor Chirwa said the development only shows that people are working very hard to ensure that there is a treatment for Covid-19.
However, Professor Chirwa said the WHO stand is not compulsory for countries to start using the drugs.
“The WHO recommendation is at a global level. It is up to countries to see if they have the capacity to be able to purchase the drug otherwise countries are not obliged to quickly jump on the recommended drugs.”
She further said at the moment everything is being tested and tried.
“The WHO itself is still assessing the quality of the drug. It is a new drug that needs to be understood.”
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda said they have seen the communication from WHO but will wait for recommendations from the ministry’s experts on the way forward.
She cited an example of another medical drug called ivermectin which WHO recommended for Covid-19 treatment but local researchers advised against its use.
“As a country, we have a team of advisors and researchers and we will wait for them to advise on the way forward so that as a policyholder we should come up with a policy based on an informed decision,” Kandodo-Chiponda said.
WHO recommended the two medical drugs for patients with severe Covid after evidence emerged that they improve survival and reduce the need for ventilation, with no observed increase in adverse effects.
To date, Covid-19 has no cure, however, vaccines have been developed to fight the pandemic.