KAWARTHA LAKES-The federal government announced today that Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s new antiviral, Paxlovid for the treatment of COVID-19.
“We expect to receive approximately 10,000 courses of treatment from the federal government in January with details on timing of shipments to be confirmed. Based on the limited supply we expect to receive from the federal government, we have worked with our hospital partners and are prepared for distribution of antivirals at 15 sites across the province as soon we receive them. Courses will initially be prioritized for adults with the highest risk of severe outcomes including immunocompromised patients and could help keep thousands of people out of our hospitals.” said Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for the Minister of Health.
Health Canada authorized the combination of two antiviral drugs, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir (brand name PAXLOVIDTM), to treat adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to serious disease, including hospitalization or death. The active ingredient nirmatrelvir in PAXLOVIDTM works by stopping the virus from replicating according to Health Canada.
“Until now, authorized medications for COVID-19 have had to be taken in a hospital or healthcare setting. PAXLOVIDTM is the first COVID-19 therapy that can be taken at home. The drug is intended for use as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms. The treatment consists of two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir taken together by mouth twice per day for five days.” says Health Canada.
The new take-home pills are another treatment option for patients in Ontario but have not been made widely available. Monoclonal Antibodies have been approved for months and are available in Canada but are also limited to certain hospitals across the province.
“The arrival of these pills gives us increased confidence as we continue to review key indicators and data to determine when we can begin safely and gradually lifting public health measures, and we look forward to providing additional details in the near future.” said Hilkene.