Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer-Beache has disclosed that the government has purchased a drug that can spread the dreaded Covid-19 to caregivers.

Dr Keizer-Beache made the disclosure at a virtual press conference on Thursday. She was at the time responding to questions of whether the drug Interferon, purchased from Cuba last year, was never used on Covid-19 patients since purchased and if not why not.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said last year his government “placed an order to purchase from Cuba a sufficiency of the dosages of the drug Interferon for 50 persons…cycles of the dosage.”

“No, we have not used Interferon to date for the Covid flu shots,” Dr Keizer-Beache said in response to the question as to whether it was ever used.

Asked why Interferon was not used, Dr Keizer-Beache replied: “In the early stages, if you remember, the management of Covid-19 has changed, has transitioned tremendously, has changed a lot over time. The initial management, the proposal was that the Interferon would be used.

“The Interferon, also the method of use is for the nebulization. For persons who have asthma, that would be, you put the drug in a cup and you use oxygen to propel the drug into you.

“The challenge with that is: by propelling the drug into you, the person breathes in and out, there’s a risk of infecting persons because you now have aerosolized situation where the virus is moving around in the air. And this is the most dangerous point of care for caregivers in terms of the risk of transmission,”

Concerning when the drug “would be used along the process,” Dr Keizer-Beache said “it has to be used at a very early stage.”

“And so, no we have not,” the Chief Medical Officer said.

“Also, the progress, as I said, in terms of the management, dexamethazone, a steroid, a very old drug but a very effective drug, has now been proven, really, to be what you really need to use for persons when they’re ill.
“We have dexamethasone; and it’s what we have been giving our patients when they’re admitted and they require that sort of intensive care.

“So, we have not used the Interferon at this stage, but that doesn’t mean we have not been utilizing some of the more effective what we now know to be extremely effective,” the Chief Medical Officer said.

(Dexamethasone is a steroid – a medicine that reduces inflammation by mimicking anti-inflammatory hormones produced by the body).

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