Guyana’s capacity to treat COVID-19 has been enhanced, as the Ministry of Health received 5,040 Paxlovid pills from UNICEF, amounting to $1 million, Monday morning.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony received the pills from UNICEF’s Deputy Representative for Guyana and Suriname Irfan Akhtar at a simple handing over ceremony.
UNICEF and Pfizer BioNTech signed an agreement in 2022 to procure the oral antiviral medicine at a lower cost, so countries like Guyana can access the medication to treat patients. With the agreement, UNICEF was able to procure the pills at US$84, which initially was US$600 per box.
Patients who have mild or severe form of COVID-19 can receive the pills, which will be distributed in all regions. The Paxlovid pill will also protect a person from long covid.
“It doesn’t matter the severity of the disease. Obviously if someone comes in with the severe COVID, this would be one way of treating them but it doesn’t matter,” Minister Anthony highlighted.
He further explained, “It’s really an antiviral medication and as you know, SARSCOV2 is a virus; and so, at critical points in its life cycle it would interrupt that life cycle and by doing so, prevent the virus from replicating and it has been quite effective in doing so.”
Minister Anthony thanked the organisation for its continuous support to Guyana in the fight against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, UNICEF pledged to continue supporting Guyana’s fight against the disease.
“This is the initial arrival of the medicines but it will depend how people are proactive, coming forward to get the medicines. We will be happy to mobilise more medicines in the future,” Mr Akhtar stated.
The deputy representative also stressed the need for persons to be vaccinated in order to be fully protected.