The arrival of monoclonal antibody drugs for treating Covid-19 in Cyprus is just a matter of time, deputy director of the pharmaceutical services Elena Panayiotopoulou told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) on Thursday.

She added that the health ministry is in constant communication with manufacturers around the world.

“A few days ago, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave its final approval for the first two monoclonal antibody treatments, which have only just made their way into the arsenal to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

“In particular, the EMA recommended the use of Ronapreve and Regkirona as medicines used for treating coronavirus.”

Ronapreve is a medicine used for treating Covid-19 in adults and adolescents from 12 years of age and weighing at least 40 kilograms, who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of their disease becoming severe.

Regikrona can also be administered to adults who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of their disease becoming severe.

According to Panayiotopoulou, however, manufacturers have not yet disclosed when the drugs will be available to member states.

She added that Cyprus will receive the drugs at the same time as other EU member states and that pharmaceutical companies started producing them from November 12, when they received the EMA’s approval.

“We have the contract and as soon as there is availability, the drugs will be delivered to Cyprus,” Panayiotopoulou said.

Asked about the quantities of drugs allocated to Cyprus, she said they will be based on the population.

“Monoclonal antibody drugs will be administered to patients on the basis of what their doctors consider the right path, but inpatient care will be required,” she said.

“The drugs are not for the general population, and they will have to be paired with oxygen therapies if necessary, in order to prevent any severe side effects.”

On this issue, Panayiotopoulou stressed that the drugs will in no way be a substitute for the Covid-19 vaccines, which prevent the virus from infecting people.

“A lot of work is being carried out at EU level in terms of vaccines and therapeutic approaches against Covid-19,” she said.

“Cyprus is directly involved in procurement procedures for drugs and alternative treatments and, as soon as they get the green light from the EMA, they will be supplied to the island.”

Moreover, she said that Cyprus is also involved in the discussions regarding the procurement of the Covid-19 Pfizeroral antiviral pill, if and when it is approved.

According to Pfizer, the pill reduces by 89 per cent the chances of hospitalisation or death for adults.