BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) said in a press briefing on Tuesday that it is currently stockpiling about 400,000 doses of anti-viral drug Favipiravir, in case a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak erupts.
The GPO had previously imported 187,000 tablets of Favipiravir from foreign countries, and 100,000 have been delivered to hospitals nationwide, and the GPO will keep 87,000 as a reserve, said Nuntakan Suwanpidokkul, director of the GPO’s Research and Development Institute.
Nuntakan said that another batch of 303,860 Favipiravir tablets will arrive in Thailand, enough to treat new patients in case a second wave of outbreak occurs.
“Each COVID-19 patient requires up to 70 tablets of Favipiravir,” said Nuntakan, adding that “we are also looking into producing local anti-viral tablets to reduce reliance on imports. Since Favipiravir tablets are used worldwide during the pandemic, it is not easy to get access to them.”
She said there are several Thai pharmaceutical companies doing research on anti-viral tablets.
“However, it will take another year or so to perform clinical tests and register the drug. So, the domestic version of Favipiravir should be ready for public use by 2022, at the earliest,” Nuntakan said.
Currently, the GPO is working in collaboration with Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) on research into ways to synthesize raw materials to manufacture Favipiravir.
“The research is showing promising results and should be completed within three to six months. We are also looking into using local raw materials to reduce the cost of producing the anti viral drugs,” said Nuntakan.
Bars May Reopen
Thailand’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced on Tuesday said that the government will give the go-ahead to have pubs, bars and entertainment venues to reopen if daily count of new COVID-19 cases stays in single digits.
CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin said the number of shoppers surged on Sunday, the day the phase two lockdown restrictions were eased.
He also said that most shoppers showed efforts in maintaining social-distancing.
Phase two included low-risk and moderate-risk businesses, listed as “white” and “green” respectively.
The “red” businesses (medium to high risk) would be allowed to reopen depending on the daily case count, Taweesin said.
The spokesman also said that the Thai COVID-19 situation has greatly improved, with new daily cases dropping to single digits for the past 22 days.
“The CCSA will assess the situation every 14 days,” Tawessin said, “If the single-digit trend continues, reopening of ‘red’ businesses is likely to come faster.”
Tuesday saw only two new COVID-19 cases, raising the total cases to 3,033.
The death toll remains at 56.