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Cyprus mulling possible COVID-19 drug

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A committee of experts at the Cyprus Ministry of Health is evaluating a medicine, specifically chloroquine, used against coronavirus with some effect in China.

Professor of microbiology and molecular virology at University of Nicosia Medical School Peter Karayiannis told CNA the committee is seriously taking this into account.

Although there has been no publication on the drug in prestigious journals, the group of scientists are conducting research and if the drug is proven to be effective the necessary steps will be taken by the Ministry of Health.

Chloroquine, Karayiannis said, is a drug which is widely available in Cyprus.

“The Consultative Committee’s sub-group has taken it into consideration, of course, evaluation of data must be made and we should not just read what has been published or written on the internet, which may not correspond to reality,” he said.

The expert explained that all data must be evaluated before the Health Ministry can go ahead with a possible use and or production of products containing the substance chloroquine.

He also said that he has yet to see anything in prestigious journals on the matter, adding he would prefer to wait until it is certain that this drug is effective.

It is, he pointed out, a very cheap drug, adding that pharmaceutical companies in the country are available to produce it if necessary.

Replying to a question as to whether the Ministry of Health has information as to the stage of production of the first vaccine for the coronavirus is, Karayiannis said there are two vaccinations, for which human trials are ongoing.

“We have moved past animal testing and therefore depending on what tests show on humans, they will then proceed with its production, if indeed, it is effective.”

“There is still a long way to go…it is expected to be available in one year at the earliest.”

About confirmed cases in Cyprus, Karayiannis said there is a rise in confirmed cases but noted that the rise is not sharp.

“I always said that it would be very good if we can remain in single digits on a daily basis…what we wish to avoid is to see numbers double every day.”

He believes the trend suggests the situation will not spiral out of control.

4000 coronavirus tests

The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics has so far conducted over 4000 coronavirus tests, its Chief Executive Medical Director Leonidas Phylactou said.

According to Phylactou, 300-500 samples are being tested every day.

He said the Institute does not face any problems in fulfilling its tasks and they have the required scientific staff and resources to conduct the tests.

Asked if Cyprus has the required consumables to carry out the tests, he said: “there are adequate reagents for the time being, although there is a lack of reagents worldwide.” (source CNA)