Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 14, 2021 (SKNIS): During the October 13, 2021, NEOC COVID-19 Press Briefing, Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital (JNF) and Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Cameron Wilkinson indicated that the Rapid Antigen Test for COVID-19 may soon be used widely across the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Dr. Wilkinson indicated that this comes as the science on the use of the Antigen test has substantially improved over recent time.
“We believe that we may soon be able to use the Antigen test in some of these conditions. If for example there was an outbreak in the prison or an outbreak in a nursing home, instead of in the past where you would have had to do a PCR- Test on 100 inmates, you can do the Antigen test on the 100 inmates back in a very short space and time and plan what other measures you want to take. If there is a suspected outbreak in a school, you can test the class right away and get the information to determine whether or not you need to take out one or two kids and the classes can continue,” said Dr. Wilkinson.
The Ministry of Health is considering the initial use of Antigen testing for case finding, outbreak investigation and monitor trends. The PCR- Test will be used for contact tracing and only the Antigen test approved by the WHO will be used in the Federation.
Dr. Wilkinson also indicated that a new drug called Molnupiravir is being developed and is awaiting approval for emergency use by the United States Food and Drugs Association (FDA). This new pill will greatly aid in the fight against COVID-19 by providing another means of protection against the deadly virus.
“This is the first anti-viral pill against COVID-19 and it represents a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19 because it is very convenient since it’s just a tablet that you will swallow, compared to the anti-body cocktail that President Trump had when he was sick. The pill will be readily available since it is only four capsules taken twice a day for five straight days, and it should lessen than half hospitalizations and death,” said Dr. Wilkinson.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer said that the anti-viral pill was effective in reducing bad outcomes in persons who were seriously at risk including the unvaccinated.
“The clinical trials were stopped because it was being so effective and thus it has reached the stage of awaiting emergency approval,” said Dr. Cameron Wilkinson.
Recently, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported molnupiravir as the first oral and direct-acting antiviral that is highly effective at reducing nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 infectious virus and viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) levels.
Persons are encouraged to use both the pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures available to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Federation. Vaccination against the deadly virus is still ongoing with the options available to be inoculated with either the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine or the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at any health center across the Federation.