Antiviral drugs are not game changers in tackling COVID-19: Ministry

Antiviral drugs are not game changers in tackling COVID-19: Ministry

Screenshot - Indonesian Deputy Minister of Health Dante Saksono Harbuwono while delivering a press statement at the KPK building in Jakarta on Wednesday (October 27, 2021). ANTARA/Andi Firdaus/KT)

The game changer is a mosaic created by great health protocols, rapid vaccinations, and qualified treatment
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The availability of antiviral drugs is not a game changer in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesian Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono Harbuwono affirmed.

"The game changer is a mosaic created by great health protocols, rapid vaccinations, and qualified treatment," Harbuwono noted in a press statement here on Wednesday.

The deputy health minister remarked that the Indonesian government was working to meet the requirement for COVID-19 antiviral drugs in the country, one of which is the United States' Molnupiravir manufactured by Merck.

The Molnupiravir drug serves to inhibit replication of the coronavirus RNA in the early phases, he highlighted.

"This drug is chosen because after the third phase of the clinical trial, it is (proven) to reduce sickness rates at hospitals and lower the risk of mortality by as much as 50 percent in mild cases, (though) not in moderate to severe cases," he expounded.

Molnupiravir belongs to one group with other antiviral drugs, such as Remdesivir, which is currently being developed in Indonesia, he added.

"Yesterday, the minister of health and the coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment had held a meeting with Merck in the United States and tried to (put forth a proposal for) manufacturing the drug (Molnupiravir) in Indonesia," he remarked.

Harbuwono noted that the Ministry of Health and experts were conducting investigations into various sources of COVID-19 antiviral drugs to add drug variants for patient care in Indonesia.

"The approach is to provide this drug for the community," he stated.

Earlier, Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin and Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan had visited the United States for a meeting with the Merck company to lobby an opportunity to build a drug factory in Indonesia.

Sadikin noted that the presence of Merck in Indonesia is expected to help the country secure adequate supplies of COVID-19 drugs, especially if another wave of COVID-19 strikes.

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