The Covid summer wave shows no signs of slowing down. Yesterday, according to data from the Ministry of Health, another 79,920 new cases were identified thanks to 303,848 swabs; the positivity rate rises to 26.3%.
Ordinary covid beds (+180) and those in intensive care (+6) also increased. Another 44 people lost their lives. Yet, there are now treatments to avoid serious illnesses and deaths: in addition to prophylaxis, the antiviral drugs molnupiravir (Lagevrio) and Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir-ritonavir) are available. But very few use them: as explained by Giorgio Palù, president of Aifa, the Italian drug agency, 600 thousand packs of Paxlovid are pre-ordered, while only 21 thousand are administered. Although, in reality, the operation is very simple. Just ask your doctor and get the drug administered, of course if you fall into the categories to which it can be prescribed.
Paxlovid, which has been shown to be more effective, is indicated for adults who do not need supplemental oxygen therapy and have a high risk of becoming seriously ill. Basically, patients suffering from oncological pathologies, cardiovascular diseases, those with uncompensated diabetes mellitus, chronic pulmonary disease, or severe obesity can use Paxlovid. In the end, a rather large audience: anyone can ask their doctor if they are among the beneficiaries. Since last April 21, in fact, even general practitioners can prescribe it: the important thing, however, is to do it within 5 days of the patient’s positivity and after having compiled a therapeutic plan, for the moment only on paper. The mechanism, therefore, is very clear. But then, in practice, something jams. As recently reported by the virologist Roberto Burioni. How come? Silvestro Scotti, secretary general of the Italian Federation of General Practitioners, explains: “Paxlovid can have interactions with other drugs and therefore, before prescribing it, it is necessary to understand if the patient takes other drugs that can be suspended for a few days”.
Nothing that cannot be overcome, or resolved, in a few minutes. Another caution, that of the patient’s renal capacity. The important thing is to have up-to-date blood tests available: if you don’t have them, just go to the first analysis center available. But in most cases, things run much faster. If you are positive, go to your doctor, or even a public hospital and you can start treatment with anti-virals right away. Unfortunately, as always, bureaucracy also got in the way. “We have been informed – remarked Scotti – with a little delay of the AIFA decisions”.
Delays that, in part, we are trying to make up for. In the last two weeks, from 30 June to 6 July, according to the Aifa report, requests for molnupiravir (Lagevrio) have increased by 10.44%, those for Paxlovid by 33.07%. “Finally there is a slight increase in prescriptions – observes Fabrizio Pregliasco, professor of General and Applied Hygiene at the University of Milan – However, a sort of accompaniment to general practitioners would be needed because we often observe a lack of tranquility on their part in prescribe them, for possible side effects if they are taken together with other types of drugs. But if we want to stop the heavy effects of this pandemic on the elderly and the frail, we must overcome this obstacle as soon as possible “.