Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will ask the cabinet to approve a budget to buy two million molnupiravir pills to help combat COVID-19.
Mr Charnvirakul said the proposal would be submitted to the cabinet soon. The pills will be used in combination with the anti-viral drug favipiravir for treating COVID-19 patients.
He also noted that COVID-19 vaccines will be provided to all migrant workers, including those illegally employed. However this will not constrain the stockpile reserved for Thais, he said.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) secretary-general Paisarn Dunkum said the Medical Services Department is contacting the manufacturer of molnupiravir to enquire about a transfer of technology to produce the drug.
Meanwhile, James Teague, managing director of AstraZeneca Thailand, has issued an open letter to update people about its supply of the vaccine to Thailand.
He said the production process has been optimised. In partnership with the local manufacturing partner, Siam Bioscience, the company has increased the size of each batch by 20%, from 580,000 doses on average to 700,000.
“This means more doses than anticipated are being produced in Thailand to help vaccinate people across the country and region,” he said.
Last month, 10.5 million doses of AstraZeneca were supplied to Thailand, bringing the total to 35.1 million. The company committed to delivering 61 million in total, ahead of a more recent agreement to supply an additional 60 million in 2022.
Mr Teague said the company will import doses from other supply chains.
In the letter, he wrote: In response to the Delta outbreak, a commitment made in July was to search the 20-plus supply chains in the company’s worldwide manufacturing network, to find additional vaccines for Southeast Asia, including Thailand.
Soon, the company will have several global supply chains providing doses to Southeast Asia over the remainder of this year, ensuring accelerated supply for each country, including Thailand, it continued.