Australian government urged to secure COVID therapy drugs as experts look beyond vaccination

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-22/federal-government-urged-to-secure-covid-treatment-drugs/100312542

By Dan Oakes, ABC Investigations 5h ago, updated 19m ago

The federal government has been urged to secure supplies of COVID therapy drugs amid fears Australia could be left at the back of the queue as the world’s focus turns from vaccines to medicines to treat the disease.

Key points:

  • Vaccination may be ineffective for immuno-compromised people, which is about 4 per cent of the population
  • Antibodies that are administered intravenously are already in use in the United States
  • Singapore has signed a pre-purchase agreement for one drug, while the European Commission has purchased doses of another

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which has struck an agreement with the Singaporean Government to supply one promising treatment, says it’s unclear if the Australian Government will buy its drug.

Currently there’s only one treatment used widely for COVID patients, a steroid called Dexamaethasone which treats inflammation of the lungs.

However, the drug is only effective on patients who are suffering severe symptoms and are receiving oxygen.

Experts say that as Australia moves towards a future where COVID is ever-present in the community, there is an urgent need for drugs to treat milder, yet more infectious, cases.

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