Swiss government signs agreement for Covid-19 drug

Swiss government signs agreement for Covid-19 drug
A new anti-Covid-19 medication is being developed in Switzerland. Photo by AFP
The federal government has signed a ‘reservation agreement’ this week for the delivery of 200,000 doses of a possible new coronavirus medication.

If the yet-unnamed drug successfully passes clinical trials and is approved for the market, Switzerland will receive priority access, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said in a statement this week. 

The clinical trials are planned for autumn 2020.

The government also secured the right to be supplied with up to 3 million further doses. 

Manufactured by a Swiss company, Molecular Partners, a spin-off of the University of Zurich, the new drug acts as an ‘immunotherapeutic agent’. 

This means the treatment is comparable to mixtures of antibody therapies that are used to neutralise the virus, the FOPH said.

“If the product is approved in Switzerland, it will primarily be used to treat people infected with the coronavirus”, health authorities noted.

 “The drug also could, in certain cases, be administered on a preventive basis — for example for exposed hospital staff or other risk groups”, the FOPH added.

The treatment is part of ‘a diversified approach’ strategy adopted by Swiss authorities, which includes protective treatments such as a vaccine.

Earlier in August, the government secured early access to 4.5 million doses of a new vaccine being currently developed by an American company, Moderna. The quantity is sufficient to immunise 2.25 million people, about a fourth of the country’s population.

It could be available sometime next year.

READ MORE: Switzerland secures early access to Covid-19 vaccine 

To date, no coronavirus-specific medication exists, although other drugs have been used experimentally to treat infected patients.

One is an anti-viral medication, Remdesivir, which holds most promise so far for the treatment of Covid-19.

The other, hydroxychloroquine, had been used at the beginning of the pandemic but was mostly discontinued in Switzerland due to serious side effects like renal and liver damage.




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