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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Medics concerned about using anti-viral Favipiravir in Covid patients with minor symptoms

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Jernej Furman / Flickr

Medical experts are voicing their concern over the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s plan to use the anti-viral drug Favipiravir to treat field hospital patients. Field hospitals are currently being used for so-called “green” Covid-19 patients… those with only minor symptoms, or none.

Favipiravir, sold under the brand name Avigan among others, is an antiviral medication used to treat influenza in Japan. It is also being studied to treat a number of other viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19). Like the experimental antiviral drugs T-1105 and T-1106, it is a pyrazinecarboxamide derivative.

It is being developed and manufactured by Toyama Chemical (a subsidiary of Fujifilm) and was approved for medical use in Japan in 2014. In 2016, Fujifilm licensed it to Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical of China. It became a generic drug in 2019, allowing the company to produce it in the People’s Republic of China – Wikipedia

Earlier this week, Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang announced that officials would treat field hospital patients with Favipiravir as soon as they were admitted. He said patients would be given 10 tablets a day over 5 days, amounting to a total of 50 tablets per patient. However, according to a Bangkok Post report, the Public Health Ministry has called for the proposed treatment to be approved by medical experts before it goes ahead. This comes as a result of a number of medics raising concerns about the treatment, particularly the risk that patients could develop resistance to it.

Nitipatana Chierakul from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital says he disagrees with the proposal to use Favipiravir to treat all Covid patients. Posting on his Facebook page, he says this policy could create a shortage of supply, with those in urgent need unable to get hold of it. Furthermore, he says use of the anti-viral drug to treat Covid-19 patients is considered “non-rational”, meaning such usage is not what it was designed for. This could produce adverse side-effects in some patients.

He points out that it’s still early days in terms of the drug’s usage and there is no clinical data to support claims that it can reduce severe illness or lung inflammation. He says while the medication was approved for emergency use during the first wave of infections, it was only used in patients with severe lung inflammation at that time.

He points out that while one clinical data review appears to show the drug is safe and can reduce the severity of symptoms, it is not in use in western countries and there is no academic evidence to back up the claims.

Aswin has now confirmed that BMA officials will meet with medical experts today to discuss the proposed use of the medication in field hospital patients.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar

    Ian Bromley

    Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Just another example of the flailing behaviour of an administration in near total collapse. To say that the left hand does jot know what the right hand is doing is too simplistic. This clearly shows that ignorant leadership is simply incompetent and indeed dangerous, and Thailand has such leadership by the bucket load. And worst of all is the money wasted on a drug that is totally unproven against this virus. Donald Trump rides again! Bring on the UV lights and bleach please nurse.

  2. Avatar

    Sydney B

    Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Somewhat bizarre using this drug considering the amount of tried and tested vaccines that are administered world wide but still have to get the big green tick from PM Prayat.
    The PM and his appropriate flunkies should be focusing on rolling out the vaccine programme without delay.

  3. Avatar


    Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 9:47 am

    So, not only mandatory to stay in a gym hall with 500 other sick people, but now its also compulsory to take 50 pills…

  4. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 11:40 am

    “Donald Trump rides again! Bring on the UV lights and bleach please nurse.”

    Spot on with this one – doctors should administer drugs, not politicians.

  5. Avatar


    Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Hater will always express hate.
    (read the last paragraph)

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health officials race to vaccinate 70% of Khlong Toey slum residents

Tanutam Thawan



Photo via Facebook/กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

Health officials are racing to vaccinate 70% of residents in Bangkok’s Khlong Toey neighbourhood, the largest slum in the city where hundreds have tested positive for Covid-19 since April. With people living in crowded conditions and many unable to take off work to self-isolate, Thai authorities have been rolling out proactive Covid-19 testing and a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to contain the virus.

A third vaccination unit has been set up in the district at the Port Authority Stadium, adding to the units at Tesco Lotus Rama IV and Wat Khlong Toey School. Around 50,000 of the 80,000 residents in the Khlong Toey slum need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to reach herd immunity, according to Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang.

As of Sunday, 11,211 people had been vaccinated at the mobile units and each vaccination unit has been handing out 1,000 queue cards each day. With the third vaccination unit, city officials plan to inoculate 2,500 to 3,000 people per day until May 19.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration launched a proactive testing campaign on April 27 in the Khlong Toey district. Since then, 19,983 people have been tested with 654 people positive for Covid-19. 5,700 people are waiting for the results to come back and the others are negative.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Monday Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths

Tim Newton



Monday’s totals have been announced for Covid-19 infections and new deaths over the past 24 hours. The Thai public health ministry reports 22 deaths and 1,630 infections.

• The only 5 imported Covid-19 cases yesterday were from neighbouring countries, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar. Authorities say that patrols will have to be stepped up at this time to control the illegal border crossings.

All 5 people caught were Thais who were were trying to cross back into Thailand without going through the border checkpoints. They’ve all been admitted to state hospitals.

• 100+ African gemstone traders have tested positive for Covid-19 over the last 4 days in Chanthaburi, east of Bangkok. Authorities have confirmed that none were detected with the African or Indian variants of Covid-19.

The 109 traders tested positive between May 6 – 9.

• 63 new cases of Covid-19 have been announced in Chon Buri today (including Pattaya), a drop from totals reported over the past week. There’s also been 1 additional death reported. 1,507 people remain in medical care for the virus in the province.

• Meanwhile all public service and government offices, including Thai immigration, are closed for Monday. But it’s not a public holiday. Today is the Royal Ploughing Ceremony which is a traditional ceremony to forecast the season’s rice and wet season crops. His Majesty the King usually presides over the annual event at the royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang.


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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

9 student nurses experience side effects from Sinovac vaccine

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Side effects were felt by 9 nursing students after receiving the Sinovac vaccine. (via Jernej Furman / Flickr)

After receiving the Sinovac vaccine, 9 student nurses at Thammasat University have complained of side effect according to the Facebook page of the Student Organization of Thammasat University. After 88 student nurses received the Chinese-made vaccine on April 23 and May 5, 2 experienced minor side effects of a little pain in the arm they were vaccinated in, while 7 felt substantial reactions including chest pain, muscle pain, dizziness, fatigue, breathing problems, numbness, and facial tics.

One case of severe side effects was a female nursing student with an underlying allergy who felt fatigued immediately after receiving the jab. she felt better an hour later, but was placed under observation. 2 days later she briefly felt that her legs and hands were numb but soon felt better. Later that evening, symptoms strengthened, with eye and facial spasms, dizziness, fatigue, and weakness in her hands.

She visited a doctor twice for the side effects and the first time was given sleeping pills and vitamin B, but the second time after a blood test, doctors concluded that the symptoms were unrelated to the Sinovac vaccine. She had been previously prescribed Clonazepam, and that prescription was changed to Pyridostigmine.

The remaining more severe side effect sufferers were as follows:

  1. One male nursing student found he had difficulty breathing and dizziness for 3 days after receiving his jab.
  1. A female nursing student reported that just 30 minutes after receiving the injection she felt shortness of breath and the next day had some numbness in her body.
  1. 14 hours after receiving the jab, a female nursing student said that she felt side effects of fatigued and had trouble breathing and had to use pillows to help her breathing difficulties.
  1. Another female student felt muscle pain and dizziness the next day after receiving the vaccine.
  1. A female student ended up receiving Vitamin B and Amitriptyline from a doctor for her side effects. She reported to initially feel something in her arm and hand where she was injected, and then numbness in her left leg and in her fingertips on both hands.
  1. For the 3 days following her inoculation, the last female nursing student had side effects of chest pains and shortness of breath.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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