Canada Approves Pfizer's COVID-19 Oral Medication for Adults

- 18 January 2022 19:18 WIB
The oral antiviral medicine will be available for adults in limited numbers. (Unsplash/Christina Victoria Craft)
The oral antiviral medicine will be available for adults in limited numbers. (Unsplash/Christina Victoria Craft)

JAKARTADAILY.ID - Canada has approved Pfizer Inc's antiviral treatment for mild to moderate COVID-19 cases in adults, as reported by Reuters on Monday.

Ottawa signed a deal with Pfizer last month for a total of a million treatment courses.

However, only a few doses are available at the moment, due to "high competition" causing global supply shortages. So far, Canada has received 30, 400 courses, and 120, 000 more will arrive by the end of March.

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"We're among the first countries to have approved the medication but also to have received the medication," said Federal Health Minister Jean-Yes Duclos, praising everyone for "doing a good job".

The approval is especially important as infections and hospitalizations continue to rise across the country. Some provinces are even forced to implement restrictions, thus impacting businesses.

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The two-drug antiviral regimen, named Paxlovid, has shown a tremendous nearly 90% effectivity in preventing hospitalizations, especially high-risk patients during the clinical trial. Paxlovid combines a new drug called Nirmatrelvir and an existing antiretroviral drug named ritonavir, which is a low-dose HIV drug. It will help Nirmatrelvir remain within the patient's body longer. It is to be taken for five days shortly after symptoms are identified.

According to official data, 87. 8% of Canadians aged 12 and older had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, cases due to the Omicron variant are expected to rise the following month, including the most populous province of Ontario.

Aside from Pfizer's, the Canadian government is looking into approving Merck & Co's oral antiviral pill as well, although results had been less impressive.

Editor: Djauhari Effendi

Source: Reuters, CBC


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