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One million Covid antiviral doses arrive in Vietnam today

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – An additional one million Covid-19 antiviral pills from Japan arrived in Vietnam today, November 25, said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son.

At a teleconference today to review the Covid-19 treatment, Son said the antiviral was new to Vietnam and would be used for patients with mild symptoms, the local media reported.

The antiviral will be distributed to provinces quickly so as not to disrupt the treatment process, Son affirmed.

The fourth Covid-19 wave, which began on April 27, has spread nationwide with recent new cases and deaths picking up again.

During the wave, the Ministry of Health has repeatedly changed guidelines on Covid-19 treatment to respond to different coronavirus variants. The country has used many drugs for the treatment by consulting experts, organizations and the treatment subcommittee of the national anti-Covid steering committee.

Vietnam has also successfully conducted a clinical trial of the Molnupiravir antiviral, which raises the rate of patients testing negative after five days of treatment from 72% to 93% and halves the death rate. The Ministry of Health has distributed 250,000 Molnupiravir doses to provinces.

As for the pandemic prevention and control strategy, Son said the number of community-infected cases out of 100,000 residents per week was not important to assess the pandemic transmission risk. Vietnam should instead focus on assessing the number of hospitalizations, critical cases and deaths and encourage residents to get tested, he said.

In the coming time, the allocations of Covid antivirals will be enhanced to prevent patients from getting worse, while new quarantine and testing strategies will be worked out.

Since the country reopened its economy last month, traveling, trading and business activities have been resumed, increasing the number of new Covid-19 cases and fatalities.

In HCMC, more than half the patients who died of Covid-19 were yet to be fully vaccinated. Most of them were aged 50 and older and suffered from underlying illnesses.

The pandemic remains unpredictable in Europe, South Korea and many other countries. The World Health Organization has also warned of the fifth Covid-19 wave.

Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health, said the trajectory of the pandemic in Vietnam and across the world was still hard to predict. Vietnam has passed the most challenging period of the fourth wave but must still be prepared for possible upcoming waves.

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