An antiviral studied as an anti-flu and now used against Covid-19: it happened to Santi Antonio e Biagio for two patients. It is the first case in Piedmont. That drug, Molnulpiravir, must be used within five days of the onset of symptoms. The first two patients are one still at home and one hospitalized.
Dr. Guido Chichino, you are director of Infectious Diseases at Santi Antonio e Biagio. Is this drug the breakthrough?
“It’s an antiviral, studied as a flu shot for years, but it works to some extent. We do not have to rely completely on this administration, its effectiveness is 30 percent. In addition, the dosage is very high: 4 pills plus another 4 for five days in a row. That’s forty pills, which is no small feat. It works like Remdesevir, it is equally effective when taken in the first few days of the disease. The “watchful waiting” is a great nonsense, we must act immediately ».
How do you fight the virus that seems to give us no respite?
“With different strategies, the lockdown is impossible also because, after that period, the virus goes and physical barriers such as masks and antivirals are needed, but they are not 100% effective. In the history of medicine there are no drugs against Coronavirus, have you ever seen a drug that treats colds? Colds are caused by a Coronavirus. I remember a conference in unsuspecting times, in which a speaker said: “We hope that there will never be a Coronavirus pandemic”. We were in Paris in the Eighties ».
Should we expect other “waves”?
«We will have to get vaccinated every year as we do for the flu, now we are all waiting for the variations of the vaccines. Viruses do their job, they deviate to survive and then mutate. It so happens that this variant spares the lungs a little, that is, it affects the upper respiratory tract, and also intestinal cell receptors due to phenomena related to the virus. It is a less pathogenic but more widespread variant. In addition, it seems that the natural antibodies of those who have already had the disease are not protective with the variant, it does not shock us, people are frightened “.
And the hospitals? How many hospitalized do you have these days?
“We are doing very badly: the Region had established beds according to a scenario, foreseeing 92. We already have 112 places, of which about a hundred are occupied. If the forecast is for a sharp increase by the end of the month, we are at the limit. But there is a good turnover, the young vaccinated people go home after a few days. The unvaccinated are a problem. And the very old vaccinated people have a disease as if they had no vaccine, it means that the antibodies formed late due to age. This is if we consider the primary virus. Those infected by Omicron are now around 20%, but on samples from ten days ago, we don’t know what we will find at the end of the month ».
Have you had any problems with No-vax inmates?
“There are some who, during the hospitalization, repented. But there is a whole part that does not refuse treatment but wants to know the dosages. People who don’t get vaccinated claim to be treated the way they want. They ask a thousand questions, read on the web and then ask. A woman wanted to know the dosage of the drugs we were giving her mom. For hospitals it is really a difficult time and not only for that ».
«Because our territory cannot be the victim of the decisions of the mayors. If you rely on the will or not of individual politicians to protect a hospital, it’s over. We need a Covid Hospital that is dormant, that is, that can be open and functioning if needed, and where only Covid patients can be addressed, otherwise everything in the other structures stops. But the decision must not be left to politics just because they are issues that make the elections lose, it must be a technical decision. A new Covid Hospital will be needed in the province. We must enter into the order of ideas that we will always need departments ready otherwise we will not get out of it ».