Covid-19: WHO to set guidelines on antiviral pills soon

UK became the first country to approve one of the potentially game-changing pills earlier this month.



Reuters file
Reuters file

By Reuters

Published: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 10:42 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 10:43 PM

World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Friday they were hoping to convene a meeting soon to set guidelines on the use of Covid-19 antiviral pills, saying they offered "very attractive" new prospects for clinical care.

Britain became the first country to approve one of the potentially game-changing pills earlier this month. Janet Diaz, the WHO's top official for clinical care responses, said that a meeting of its guidelines development group would consider the question of Covid pills in a forthcoming meeting in three weeks.

Another WHO official Mike Ryan said preliminary findings on the pills was "very, very welcome", adding that a "careful process" was not required before the therapies should be expanded more broadly.

"Clearly, having a second line approach of being able to treat those who do get infected is a very attractive and being able to save lives in that manner is very attractive," he said.

Last week Pfizer Inc's said its experimental antiviral pill to treat Covid-19 cut by 89 per cent the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease.

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At the same briefing, WHO principal legal officer Steven Solomon said that talks on an international treaty to boost pandemic preparedness were advancing ahead of a major meeting of the body later this month.

"There is good reason to believe they (WHO members) will come to a successful conclusion," he said.

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Discussions are also advancing on a potential emergency use listing for Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, the WHO's Mariangela Simao said, adding that further inspections were required. "The process is moving again which is very good news," she said.


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