Given the growing wave of infections due to the Covid-19 Omicron variant in Mexico, which has become the predominant in the country, the Special Commission for Emergency Attention by Covid-19 from ONE, detailed which medications can be administered to those infected with this disease and which are not recommended.
It should be noted that the medications recommended by the UNAM Commission are not to treat the coronavirus but are only drugs that can be taken to relieve some symptoms and it is important to remember that it is not recommended to self-medicate and it is best to consult a doctor to have a proper treatment.
According to the health authorities and the Commission, there is a high probability that the Omicron variant spreads more easily than the virus del SARS-CoV-2, but it is still unknown what is the ease of propagation of this compared to the Delta variant.
The Commission has reported that more data is still needed to determine whether infections with the Omicron variant cause more severe illness or more deaths than infections with other variants, but notes that current vaccines are expected to protect people from severe cases of the disease, hospitalizations and deaths from the disease.
Based on the information provided by the Commission, it is possible that despite being fully vaccinated a person could become infected with the Omicron variant, which is why it stresses the importance of all people over 15 years of age starting or completing their vaccination against Covid-19 and get your booster dose as soon as it’s due.
The Commission indicates, in an article published on its web portal, that because the majority of people who have fallen ill with coronavirus in recent weeks they do not present severe symptoms of Covid-19 and report symptoms that generally resolve within five days, the medications that can be given are:
- Paracetamol: to control fever.
- Ibuprofen: for discomfort due to the body’s response to infection.
Instead, the drugs that should not be used for the management of patients with Covid-19, are:
- antibiotics of any kind (azithromycin, levofloxacin, ceftriaxone, ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, etc.).
- antivirals that have no effect against the virus that causes COVID-19 (oseltamivir, amantadine, rimantadine, acyclovir, etc.).
- steroid medications in the first five days of the illness (cortisone, dexamethasone, etc.).
- Anticoagulants without medical supervision (aspirin, heparin, enoxaparin, clopidogrel).
The experts that make up this Commission added that if the person infected with Covid-19 suffers from any other disease for which they take medications on a regular basis, they should continue to use them without interruption.
The use of remdesivir to treat Covid-19
Susana Lopez Charreton, researcher at Institute of Biotechnology (IBT) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, indicated that so far there are no specific drugs or treatments against the effects of SARS-CoV-2. While there are medications that could help shorten recovery time for some seriously ill patients, they are not the solution needed to combat the disease, he said.
The antiviral drug remdesivir was approved on March 12, 2021 by the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) and is recommended to treat early cases of the disease.
The researcher indicated that this medicine only helps those infected people who require hospitalization, of which 30% recover; Furthermore, it can only be managed intravenously and it is highly recommended that it be given at the beginning of the infection so that virus replication can be controlled.
Although, he warned that if applied at the beginning of the infection, the body’s immune response is inhibited, therefore it would worsen the patient’s health, and that is why, he indicated, that it is important that this medicine is only administered in hospitals and under medical supervision.
He indicated that the same happens with medications such as hydroxychloroquine and the chloroquine, which are used as treatments against malaria and other diseases other than the one caused by the coronavirus.
He warned that self-medication with these drugs would cause more problems than solutions to the health crisis where the country is today.
In addition to remdesivir, Cofepris has approved the emergency use of two antiviral drugs, the laboratory pill Merck and the paxlovid treatment of the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer. These drugs were approved under certain conditions and will not be given to anyone who becomes infected with Covid-19.
The Special Commission for the Attention of the Emergency by Covid-19 of the UNAM indicated that factors such as the beginning of winter, the entry of the Omicron variant, the holidays and year-end holidays caused an acceleration in coronavirus infections; Given this and in order to maintain health security in face-to-face activities, they issued recommendations such as:
- get vaccinated. Vaccination against coronavirus is the main way to prevent a person infected with Covid-19 from presenting symptoms of serious illness, requiring hospitalization or dying from this cause.
- Wear face masks properly. The use of face masks decreases the amount of virus that a person sick with Covid-19 can exhale and in turn limits the amount of virus that a person who is nearby can inhale. The mask must cover the nose and mouth at the same time and be adjusted to the bridge of the nose and the skin of the face without folds, to prevent the free entry of air through the corners.
Another recommendation is that if a Covid-19 sick at home, this must be kept in isolation; both the patient and family members should wear face masks, ideally high-efficiency masks (N95, KN95, KF94, FFP3, FFP2, FFP1); The ventilated place and regular hygiene must be maintained.
Surveillance of Covid-19 patients at home
The expert members of the Commission recommend having a thermometer to measure the temperature of the patient, which must be monitored so that it is not higher than 38 degrees and have a oximeter to monitor the oxygenation of the infected, which must be observed not to drop below 92%, in case of high temperature or a low level of oxygenation, a doctor must be informed immediately.