Dr Lackram Bodoe. Photo: T&T Parliament
By Chantalé Fletcher
FYZABAD MP Dr Lackram Bodoe calls on the government to invest and procure Molnupiravir – the first oral anti-viral to treat Covid-19.
It is being made by Merck.
“This drug was another milestone in the world’s fight against Covid-19. We do not want to be last in the queue as what happened in the vaccine procurement process,” he added.
Speaking at the United National Congress (UNC) virtual meeting on Monday night, Dr Bodoe revealed that Molnupiravir was already approved in Britain and awaited approval in the United States and other countries.”
He said, “Our population deserves better this time but with government one never knows and we will just have to wait and see.”
Dr Bodoe said that in October, the interim result of a trial showed that Covid-19 patients were 50% less likely to be hospitalised or to die if this oral anti-viral in the first five days after symptoms.
“However, in our situation where there were many persons unvaccinated and hospital beds were almost filled, this drug has the potential to serve a very useful purpose.”
He added that Britain already secured 480,000 courses whereas many other countries were still in the process of doing.
Dr Bodoe said, “The drug will be used to treat patients who were not vaccinated or to treat those at high risk despite being vaccinated and have gotten breakthrough infections. It will also simplify treatment because it was a tablet which could be taken at home in many instances.”
He added that global demand will be high but Merck increased its productions and have already licensed the drug to be made by others, which included five Indian manufacturers of low-cost generic drugs.
Dr Bodoe stated, “The company was setting aside three million of the ten million courses which it expects to produce in 2021 for low-and middle-income countries and trying to make it both affordable and available.”
Meanwhile, the MP called for the most experienced medical staff to be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Units (HDU) Departments and said the unvaccinated should seek advice from their medical practitioners.
He said, “The limited Covid-19 testing at public health facilities in the early stages and delay in approving private facilities for testing may have contributed to giving us a false sense of security with regards to low numbers.”
The MP said it was unsatisfactory and dangerous to have patients waiting in Covid tents for three and four days to get PCR results.
Dr Bodoe asked for consideration to be given to use the spare capacity of the private sector to achieve faster results and better manage the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said, “We have had 68 deaths in the first six days of November which means 132 per 100,000 people were reported in the last seven days which represented 49% of the peak that occurred in May 2021 which was the highest daily average reported.”
Dr Bodoe described the situation as “more worrisome” with the presence of the Delta variant and the shortage of ICU beds.
He said, “The death rate continues to be worrisome at 100,000 population in T&T stands at 125 compared to 77 in Jamaica and 59 in Barbados.”