The Department of Medical Services (DMS) on Monday defended the effectiveness of favipiravir in treating Covid-19 patients against an international study claiming the antiviral drug lacked efficacy in treatments.
Dr Somsak Akksilp, DMS director-general, said the study he is referring to is one carried out in the United States, Mexico and Brazil.
In the study, favipiravir was used to compare with a control group, he said, adding there were 1,187 patients who volunteered to take part in the research, 70% of whom were obese and 15% were elderly.
However, it appears the researchers didn't adjust the appropriate doses of the pills based on patient weight, he said.
Almost every patient who received pills during the third day of the study started developing coronavirus symptoms, he said, noting one-third of them had at least been infected once or vaccinated.
The evaluation to gauge the severity of infections among patients is also different from Thailand's, Dr Somsak said.
He said Thai researchers have carried out a study on the drug using 93 patients in three hospitals. All of them were below 60 years old and didn't suffer chronic diseases, he said. Only 25% were obese, he said.
Half of the patients were treated with the pill from the first day symptoms started showing, he said. The group only developed mild-to-moderate symptoms, he said.
He said the patients were treated and monitored in the hospital.
He said the effectiveness of favipiravir was measured by medical personnel via the News system -- comprising of checks on patients' respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation and heart rate, among others.