Antiviral therapeutics “need bigger push”

Antiviral therapeutics "need bigger push"

Antiviral therapeutics 'need bigger push'
Individuals receive a Covid-19 vaccination in Pathumwan district in December 2022. ( Photo: Somchai Poomlard )

Experts say viral therapeutics need to be an expense concern if another pandemic were to happen in the future, due to the probable length of time a immunization takes to build.

Sharon Lewin, infectious diseases specialist and physician from the University of Melbourne, said that although the time it took to build the Covid-19 vaccine was extraordinarily small, the second pandemic may arrive with more difficulties and vaccines may not emerge in such a small time.

“Imagine a situation where we have a new pandemic and we ca n’t make a vaccine, or it takes 10 years, not one year, ” she told a recent virtual forum,” Fair Treatment: The place of therapeutics in future pandemics”.

Dr Lewin is the mind of the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics, a heart to be developed under a$ 250 million grant from American billionaire Geoff Cumming.

The center aims to give long-term funding to experts so they can create software systems to control pandemics in the future.

“As we saw with Covid-19, even with an effective vaccine, people can still get infected and getting sick, especially the elderly and immuno-suppressed who are at risk of more severe illness, ” Dr Lewin said.

The second Covid-19 vaccination was approved in July 2020 and delivered in December 2020, according to the Doherty Institute.

But, the viral Paxlovid, was first administered in late 2021 and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in May 2023, it said.

Dr Lewin said that if Covid-19 immunotherapy had been attainable at the same time as Covid-19 vaccines millions of lives worldwide could have been saved.

“ What we learnt through Covid-19 is the antivirals came too late and they weren’t equally distributed, ” she said.

Harjyot Khosa, adviser to the International Planned Parenthood Federation South Asia and Long Covid-19 Advocate in Delhi, said there are also accessibility issues for vaccines and antivirals in small to mid income locations.

“ In these places, sex work areas, the transgender area, migrants and illegal citizens don’t have voter cards, making it difficult to get access to vaccines and antivirals for Covid-19,” she said.

Dr Khosa said that from her specific experience of having Covid-19 and being diabetic, exposure to immunotherapy was hard. “We failed but some areas. ”

At the 74th World Health Assembly to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27 May to 1 June, the World Health Organization has set itself a date for the discussions on a Pandemic Accord.

According to the Cumming International Centre, a large chunk of the debate over access worried vaccines, with “the needed for therapeutics much less prominent ”

Hospital admissions according to Covid-19 in Thailand have been increasing since March, the Ministry of Public Health says. Some people even remain either uninsured or inadequately vaccinated.