‘Innovative COVID treatments needed’

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    ACCESS to new innovative treatments against COVID-19 should complement a robust vaccination program if the country hopes to win the fight against the deadly virus, according to health experts.

    “We need an innovative, accelerated, cross-sectoral and cost-effective approach to healthcare if we are to confront this lingering crisis decisively,” said Prof. Dindo Manhit in a recent Stratbase ADRI online townhall discussion.

    Dr. Evan Glen Vista, internal medicine specialist at St. Luke’s Medical Center, said the drug Ronapreve, also known as REGN-COV in other countries that was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration last Oct. 1, is available as an infusion and prevents severe COVID.

    Dr. Rontgene Solante, chief of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Unit at San Lazaro Hospital, said monoclonal antibodies like Ronapreve act like vaccines in blocking the virus from entering the cells.

    “The earlier you catch patients while they have a mild to moderate infection, (the greater your chance of preventing them from becoming) high risk, severe and critical cases,” Solante said, emphasizing the need to move forward “because SARS-CoV-2 is not going away.”

    Universal Health Care Watch co-convenor Alvin Manalansan said “we must work together to remove the barriers to these new treatments specifically developed for COVID 19. More government funding should be allocated to give access to these innovative treatments that have EUA approvals in the developed countries and are proven to prevent costly hospitalization. This can potentially save government resources so that more COVID 19 patients may benefit.