By Lindsey Turnbull
The Cayman Islands, as an Overseas Territory of the UK, is currently being considered for inclusion by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office when it comes to the distribution of what has been termed “game changer” anti-viral drugs to help people fight Covid-19. These drugs are a simple pill that can be taken for five days at home, and which have been found to significantly reduce the chance of becoming sick should someone be exposed to Covid.
In an interview with Caymanian Times Publisher, Ralph Lewis, Cayman’s Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee spoke about the current drugs available in Cayman to people suffering from Covid and also these new drugs that were just around the corner for people in Cayman.
Drugs available if people got sick included Remdesivir and readily available steroids, while monoclonal antibodies were on order and should be arriving soon, Dr Lee said. However, Dr Lee said he was particularly excited about the emergence of antiviral tablets deployed in primary care that could be taken by people if they have had a known exposure and which would greatly reduce their chance of getting sick. The drugs were currently in the trial phases but their manufacturers were reporting they were effective, he said.
“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is considering its Overseas Territories in its advance purchase just like it did an advanced purchase for the vaccines. It’s considering us in the advanced purchase for this category of drug, which will be enormously helpful in keeping people out of the hospitals, so that is an exciting thing that we should hear more about by, I should think, Christmas,” Dr Lee confirmed.
According to an article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, such an antiviral drug to treat coronavirus could be available within months in the UK after it was found to cut hospitalisations and deaths by half.
If approved, the antiviral drug would be the first simple pill shown to be effective against Covid-19 and would mark a major advance in the fight against the pandemic, the Guardian wrote. The latest drug, made by Merck, known as MSD outside the US, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, would be the first that could be taken by at-risk patients at home. Merck said it would apply for emergency use authorisation for the drug in the US within the next two weeks and seek the green light for use in several other countries.