Friday, January 15, 2021

St. Vincent: Anti-viral drug ordered from Cuba to treat COVID-19 patients

St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has ordered stocks of Interferon, a drug designed to strengthen the immune system, which is being used in China to stem the spread of COVID-19.
This is one of several announcements made by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves this morning, March 14, while he was outlining the Government’s plan to contain the COVID-19 virus, whose presence in SVG was confirmed Wednesday evening.
The first case, an imported one, was placed in quarantine on March 10 after she reported her symptoms to the authorities three days after travelling back to SVG from the United Kingdom on March 7. After confirmation on March 11 that she was positive for Covid-19, ‘patient zero’ was placed in isolation and her three family members in quarantine.
Today, the Government disclosed that they will be receiving help from Cuba, firstly in the form of additional medical personnel who are trained in handling infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
Additionally, “St Vincent and the Grenadines has placed an order to purchase from Cuba a sufficiency of the dosages of the drug Interferon for 50 persons…cycles of the dosage,” the Prime Minister indicated.
He said that he has been informed that “the drug Interferon strengthens the immune system of a person to fight viruses. It is essentially, I have been advised, an anti-viral pharmaceutical product.”
This drug, he stated, is also one of six that the Chinese Government has been using to help them contain the spread of the virus in China, where the outbreak originated.
“I have also been in touch with the Director General of the OECS, Dr Didacus Jules on this matter, and the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service has also placed an additional order of the same drug for St Vincent and the Grenadines, and for the other member countries of the OECS,” Gonsalves further assured.
The purchase of the drug by the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service is being done using resources form the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the Prime Minister continued.
“I have been in communication with the governor of the Central Bank, Mr Timothy Antoine on this matter, and so too has the Minister of Finance, Camillo [Gonsalves],” he added.

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