Jamaica will receive its first batch of the antiviral drug Remdesivir next week, said Dr Nadine Williams director of health services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
The move follows Jamaica's approval of the drug for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the public health system. It will only be administered to patients who have been hospitalised and have consented to receive it, and only under the controls of a study or emergency licence authorisation. Jamaica has seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
Dr Williams announced that while the drug has not yet received full approval in any country, and clinical trials are still ongoing, Jamaica decided to procure a small amount. It was used to treat President Donald Trump when he contracted COVID-19.
Dr Williams said that the side-effect profile and drug-to-drug interaction are still incomplete, “so we would have some caution in the use with other drugs”.
She emphasised that it will only be used under strict conditions, and administered to a confirmed COVID-19 patient, who has been hospitalised and can get an intravenous drug or is under the care of a licensed clinician and is being constantly monitored.
'Informed consent must be obtained. That is absolutely important, and so a doctor has to explain what it is they are wanting to achieve, what are some of the side effects of the drug, and the patient must give their consent,' she noted.
Additionally, she said the patient has to be monitored and there must be the reporting on the outcome of the drug.