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22 May, 2022
 
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Infected patients in Cyprus get on new antiviral pill

Officials decline to provide details on high-risk patients such as vaccination status, too early for big picture

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Over a dozen high-risk patients have been prescribed an oral antiviral drug in the Republic of Cyprus this week, but officials have declined to provide data saying the numbers were too small to form a big picture.

According to Kathimerini Cyprus, as of Tuesday there were 16 patients who had received the antiviral medicine Lagevrio, also known as Molnupiravir, with no side effects reported so far.

Kathimerini’s Apostolos Tomaras said the 16 patients who are taking the prescribed medication were persons who have been infected with coronavirus and have shown early symptoms.

But officials on the island have declined to provide more information about those receiving the drug, such as vaccination status, saying the treatment was being monitored but numbers were insignificant to draw a big picture.

Officials declined to provide more information about those receiving the drug, such as vaccination status, saying the treatment was being monitored but numbers were insignificant to draw a big picture

According to Tomaras, the age threshold for Lagevrio was expected to be lowered from 65 to 60 but this was expected to take place after clinical trials.

Lagevrio is currently not authorized by the European Medicines Agency.

But EMA officials have said the drug could be used to treat high-risk adults who have contracted COVID-19 as long as they do not require supplemental oxygen.

When Lagevrio enters the bloodstream, it blocks the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to replicate, with experts hoping this would help prevent hospitalization in patients who have high risk factors of severe COVID-19, such people with obesity, chronic respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure and heart problems, and diabetes.

But the COVID pill, which is similar to flu medication, is not available over the counter but only through the state’s pharmacies following a doctor’s prescription. According to EMAs’ website, recommendations in November 2021 in support of member states regarding pre-market authorization use of the drug were based on an assessment of interim data from a study based on 762 subjects.

The study, which did not include people who had been vaccinated, showed that Lagevrio reduced the risk of hospitalization or death in people with COVID-19 who were at higher risk of severe disease from 14.1% in the placebo group to 7.3% in the Lagevrio group.

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