Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged the Ministry of Public Health to speed up pre-ordering two types of COVID-19 antiviral medicines for use in Thailand.
Pfizer has announced it has developed COVID-19 antiviral medicine, Paxlovid, to reduce COVID-19 deaths among high-risk patients, Gen Chan-o-cha said on his FB page.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has announced it will allow the use of Molnupiravir produced by Merck, the US pharmaceutical company, to treat COVID-19 patients there. The medicine is likely to be produced early next year, he said.
As a result, he had urged the Ministry of Public Health to speed up its process of buying these medicines so Thais can take them too.
Gen Chan-o-cha also said while the COVID-19 situation is under control, but urged Thais to keep up their guard, wear face masks and comply with social distancing.
Chief of Department of Medical Services, Dr Somsak Akkasilp, said the department agreed with Pfizer to preorder its antiviral medicine two months ago. However, the company has not specified when it will register with the US’s Food and Drug Administration.
Paxlovid from Pfizer and Merck’s Molnupiravir act differently. Molnupiravir inhibits the replication of COVID-19 RNA while Paxlovid needs to use a protease inhibitor such as Molnupiravir, he said.
Dr Ittaporn Kanacharoen, secretary-general of the Medical Council, said he wanted vulnerable groups who have yet to get a jab to arrange one as quickly as possible as the country has now reopened and eased restrictions against COVID-19.