Physician specialist Dr Ismael Katjitae believes the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant is likely responsible for the resurgence of Covid-19 cases and rising deaths in the country.
Namibia will only know on Friday whether the prevailing third wave is attributed to the Delta variant, which has been detected in over 85 countries worldwide, including neighbouring South Africa.
The University of Namibia is currently processing the genomic sequencing analysis to determine if the variant is present in the country. However, Katjitae reckons the sharply rising cases have all the hallmarks of a Delta variant.
“So far, we have not recorded or documented any Delta variant. But clearly, the way this pandemic is behaving, it has all the signs of a Delta variant. It is most probably causing this rapid wave of new infections. During the first wave, we used to
record 315 cases a day, but now we are talking about 1 800 cases a day,” said Katjitae, who was responding to media enquiries at State House yesterday. The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, has spread exponentially across the world and is particularly surging across Africa.
The continent has administered the least vaccines, compared to developed countries that have millions of fully vaccinated populations.
Namibia, which has less than 30 000 people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, is battling a rapid rise of new infections, which has chocked both private and public hospitals. The runaway infection rate, numerous deaths and the search for a miracle against the third wave of Covid-19 have turned demand for
Ivermectin into a gold mine for black market peddlers of the parasitic medicine. Katjitae yesterday also warned against the use of Ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19 because there is no evidence supporting its use.
“We do see patients who have taken Ivermectin and end up severely hospitalised and some have lost their lives. We should be very cautious about this. One should take that with caution, especially when it is not an internationally recognised remedy.
If it was so fantastic, the whole media would be talking about it,” Katjitae said. Emergency medicine specialist Dr Kaveto Sikuvi also warned against the use of Ivermectin.
“There is no evidence that Ivermectin has any impact in terms of treating Covid-19. That notion of not allowing Ivermectin not to be used in the treatment of Covid-19 is actually based on evidence that does not support its use,” said Sikuvi, who also heads the Covid-19 case management task force.
The drug, believed to be effective against Covid-19, has forced desperate Namibians to fork out as much as N$1 500 to get their hands on Ivermectin.
Tablets are being sold for as much as N$1 500 for 20 tablets on the informal market, while pharmacists all over the country are charging about N$20 per tablet or N$195 for 10 tablets.
Ivermectin for animals in liquid form, according to Agra, costs about N$90; however, Namibians have been paying as much as N$800 for 50 millilitres on the black market.
A group of 30 doctors in Namibia earlier also appealed to the health ministry and the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council (NMRC) to approve ivermectin as a Covid-19 therapy.
Meanwhile, the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council recently said there is no data to support the use of Ivermectin to
The registrar of medicines, Johannes Gaseb, said the council consulted independent experts in relevant fields – both locally and internationally, adding that available studies are insufficient, used differing dosing regimens and included various concomitant medications.
Drugmaker Merck & Co Inc, who manufactures Ivermectin, in February, said its analysis of available data does not support the safety and efficacy of its anti-parasite drug for the treatment of Covid-19.