None of the new drugs used to treat the coronavirus (COVID-19) have arrived at the Ministry of Health, according to Wagdy Amin, Director General of the Ministry of Health’s Chest Diseases Department.
Amin told Daily News Egypt that for a new drug to be approved for use in Egypt, it must undergo examinations and produce encouraging outcomes during clinical trials in other countries. He added that these drugs must also receive approval for use in other countries before their application in Egypt.
Amin also said that new Japanese drug, Avigan, has yet to arrive in Egypt, with the Ministry of Health unable to give an opinion on it before it undergoes trials. This is despite Avignan’s approval for use in other countries, such as China. The drug had been approved for trial before its addition to Egypt’s protocol for treating the coronavirus.
Avigan, which is also called favipiravir, is an antiviral drug in developmeny by Toyama Chemical (Fujifilm group) of Japan.
It is expected to be made available next week as part of Egypt’s coronavirus treatment protocol, according to Hossam Hosni, head of the Ministry of Health’s scientific committee for combating the coronavirus.
He added that Egypt had approved the drug once the first coronavirus case was, adding that there is evidence patients on the drug recover from the disease within 4 days.
Amin said that the anti-retroviral, Kaletra, has already been included in the treatment protocol for cases that do not respond to the chloroquine.
“The protocol is dynamic and subject to change depending on the latest research and clinical trials worldwide,” Amin said.
Amin added that doctors decide the best medication on a case-by-case basis, so “it is the decision of the physician, but from the protocol”. The protocol includes Paracetamol, Tamiflu, Azithromycin, and anti-malarials such as chloroquine.