The Cypriot health minister says a special committee is moving forward with procedures to make drugs available against the COVID-19 disease, while warning that no medicines have been approved for treatment of the novel coronavirus.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told a press conference that the state Pharmaceutical Services’ Cyprus Drugs Committee has decided to put in motion procedures to make available sufficient quantities of drugs used to combat COVID-19.
Ioannou, who announced on Monday the tightening of current restrictive measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak, also made clear that "at present stage there is no approved treatment to deal with the coronavirus."
But he gave the go ahead on the drugs used in public hospitals, saying “these drugs which are already used to deal with other chronic diseases exist in sufficient quantities,” adding that details on availability at local pharmacies was forthcoming.
Ioannou made it clear that 'at present stage there is no approved treatment to deal with the coronavirus'
The minister explained that the Cyprus Drugs Committee is an institutional body that approves drugs protocols.
Last week reports said data had to be evaluated before the health ministry could go ahead with possible use or production of products containing chloroquine, an immunosuppressive antimalarial drug also known as chloroquine phosphate that can be prescribed only by a medical doctor.
“The committee has decided to set in motion the procedures to make available sufficient quantities of the drugs the consultative committee of scientists is recommending on the coronavirus,” Ioannou said.
The health minister also expressed the government’s heartfelt thanks to many companies, organizations and people who rushed to offer money or free equipment, consumables and drugs to be used in the fight against the coronavirus.
“We will win this great battle," Ioannou said.
No drug yet to prevent or treat the COVID-19
Knews understands there is currently no specific medicine to prevent or treat the COVID-19 disease, while medical experts say supportive care is necessary for people who need help to breathe.
Self care for mild symptoms include staying home, resting in bed, keeping warm, and drinking plenty of liquids. If people develop a fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, medical care should be sought promptly, starting with a phone call to the personal doctor.
Foreign medical experts said there were early signs that an experimental antiviral treatment for people who become very sick from the coronavirus may work fairly quickly by blocking the virus from reproducing itself in the body.
But due to clinical trials still taking place, no interviews have been given and no valid information has been shared with the media over the efficacy of the drug.
Initial results on experimental drugs are not expected at least for another month, while labs around the world are racing against time to develop a vaccine and begin testing it on humans as early as 2021.