THAILAND logged 17,970 coronavirus cases and 178 deaths in 24 hours to this morning (August 2), down from yesterday’s tally of 18,027 cases but fatalities increasing from 133, amid a warning of a looming shortage of a key medicine used to treat Covid patients, Sanook.com said.
The Public Health Ministry said of today’s large batch of cases, 17,795 were among the general public and 175 in prisons and detention centres.
The cumulative confirmed total in the current wave that started in April has now reached 604,421 and since the start of the pandemic 633,284.
The additional 178 fatalities took the death toll to 5,168 while 13,919 more patients have recovered.
Meanwhile Thammasat field hospital posted a warning on its Facebook page yesterday that the current rapid spread of coronavirus may lead to a shortage of Favipiravir – the key drug used to treat patients.
Mentioning that yesterday was the 113th day of operating this field hospital and 52nd day of running its vaccination centre, the medical team said with the daily Covid count reaching over 18,000 cases yesterday it would likely climb to 20,000 a day and stay at that level for at least one to two weeks.
This makes it necessary to formulate a strategy at the national level because even though the Government Pharmaceutical Organization does produce Favipiravir, in a few months’ time its capacity will be 2-3 million tablets a month.
If daily new cases stay at this level amid a policy of the Public Health Ministry to give patients quick access to medicine, with the usage of up to one million tablets a day as each patient takes 50 tablets daily, the country will surely run short of Favipiravir next week.
This is the scenario if the government does not quickly allow private drug factories of similar standard to also produce it.
The Thammasat field hospital team added that this estimation of the demand for this drug by the Pharmacy Council of Thailand is reliable. This is the only antiviral drug available in Thailand and every pill used by every single hospital is dispensed by members of this council.
The medical team added that they hope the government decides on this vital issue quickly. Should they decide to not take action they would have to give an explanation to the people.
If nothing is done by the middle of August people here will start hearing that aside from a shortage of vaccines and hospital beds, there is also a shortage of drugs to treat Covid patients, they added.
Some tablets of Favipiravir which Covid-infected patients need. Photos: NNT