Guyana says it is exploring the use of different medications, including the vaccine developed in Russia, to treat the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said the government is in now in talks with multiple international organisations to explore different medications to assist Guyana, where 44 people have died and 1,416 others infected with the virus that was first detected in China last December.
He said that a letter of intent was signed on August 31, to allow Guyana to be a part of the COVAX Facility, where 16 vaccines are being examined.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – which aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and fundamentally guaranteeing fair and equitable access for every country during the pandemic.
COVAX is co-led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“By mid-next year, through this mechanism, we will receive vaccines equivalent to 20 per cent of our population,” Dr. Anthony said.
Last month, Russia named its first COVID-19 vaccine – Sputnik. Like all vaccines, Sputnik had to undergo approval. To date, Phase 1 and 2 trials have been completed, while Phase 3 is in progress.
But Dr. Anthony said that through the Russian Embassy in Guyana, a technical team from the Health Ministry engaged with the Russian government via a teleconference, to learn more and grasp a better understanding of the vaccine and its effectiveness in treating the infectious disease.
He said upon completion of Phase 3, Guyana can expect to benefit from the Russian-COVID-19 vaccine.
Guyana is also exploring the use of a generic medication from India known as Remdesivir, described as an antiviral medication, which is currently being studied to treat the COVID-19. It has been reported that critically ill patients can benefit tremendously from this medication.
Dr. Anthony said the government in Argentina is looking at vaccines with the aim of producing 250 million dosages. The Health Ministry will engage in bilateral meetings to ensure Guyana is listed as one of the beneficiaries to treat its patients, and essentially curtailing the spread of the deadly virus.