Plaxovid, the Pfizer antiviral pill against COVID-19 has been approved by EMA and is expected in Cyprus by mid-February, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health`s Pharmaceutical Services Dr. Elena Panagiotopoulou has told CNA, adding that it will be used in the treatment of over 15,000 patients.
In statements to CNA on Friday, Panagiotopoulou said this will be the second antiviral pill to be used in Cyprus, which is up to 90% effective (according to Pfizer) in the prevention of hospitalization and death of high-risk patients due to COVID-19. Based on the latest laboratory data, the medicine is also effective against the Omicron variant, she added.
Plaxovid is the first of the two medicines approved by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medical Association (EMA), said Panagiotopoulou and it was licensed through an emergency process for early use, due to the fast spread of the Omicron variant.
Panagiotopoulou explained that the other medicine, Molnupiravir 200mg hard capsules, which is already available in Cyprus, has been approved by the EMA, but is not yet licensed.
She also mentioned that Plaxovid is not suitable for pregnant women or mothers who breastfeed or for people with kidney failure. Personal doctors and doctors of other specialties will be allowed to prescribe the pill, according to protocols prepared by the Ad Hoc Committee, and patients will be able to pick it up from hospital pharmacies only.
The Health Ministry official said that 125 patients have been treated with Molnupiravir so far in Cyprus, without any adverse side effects.
Regarding the arrival of the protein-based vaccine by Novavax, she said that it is expected by the end of February, both in Cyprus and the rest of Europe.
The vaccine contains a non-infectious component similar to the surface of the Sars-CoV-2 virus which induces a protective immune response when the body’s immune cells come into contact with the virus.