Anti-viral pill to be used in COVID treatment, says Minister Koca

Anti-viral pill to be used in COVID treatment, says Minister Koca

Anti-viral pill to be used in COVID treatment, says Minister Koca

Turkey will use the anti-COVID drug Molnupiravir in the early-stage treatment of coronavirus patients, the country’s health minister has announced as daily infections continue to remain high.

The anti-viral pill will be administered to patients aged over 65 and people with chronic diseases starting next week, Fahrettin Koca said in a statement on Feb. 2 after a meeting of the Health Ministry’s Science board, which advises the government on the pandemic.

Koca also said that the rise in cases is due to the Omicron variant of the virus.

Gene-sequence sampling shows that almost all of the new cases in the country are caused by this strain, according to the minister.

“Istanbul was the first city where the Omicron spread fast and the daily cases there climbed to 40,000. However, in the past two weeks, daily infections dropped below 20,000…The cases presently may be on the rise in other cities, but similar declines could be seen in other provinces as well in the near future,” Koca said.

He stressed that the current trend in the pandemic is not likely to overwhelm hospital capacity.

Across the country, hospital bed occupancy rate is 57.8 percent while the rate in the intensive care units is 68.7 percent, Koca said, adding that the ventilator occupancy rate stands at 31 percent.

Vaccination drive

The new deliveries of the locally developed vaccine, Turkovac, to hospitals have started and possible side effects of the jab are closely monitored, the minister said.

“No serious side effects have been reported to date. The vaccine is scientifically proven to be effective and safe. Our citizens can get Turkovac shots without any hesitation.”

Turkey started to use Turkovac in its vaccination drive at the end of last month, in addition to the jabs developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and the Chinese company Sinovac.

Meanwhile, experts warned that the pace of the vaccination drive has lost steam recently because people have become complacent about the pandemic.

Some 24 million people have not received their third dose of the jab, experts said.

Nearly half of the lawmakers in parliament have had the virus, with more than 50 MPs having contracted COVID-19 in the past month alone. Some of the lawmakers have had the virus for a second time, but since they are vaccinated, they did not require treatment in hospitals.