Ottawa — Canada has purchased up to 1.5 million courses of oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 in anticipation of Health Canada approval.
After Health Canada approved safety and efficacy, the government signed up for the first million courses of antiviral treatment from Pfizer. The company filed a request for approval with federal drug regulators earlier this week.
Canada has also purchased 500,000 courses of Merck’s oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19. You also have the option to purchase an additional 500,000 courses once Health Canada approves the drug.
“Access to effective and easy-to-use treatments is important to reduce the severity of COVID infections and helps save lives,” said Finance Minister Filomena Tassi on Friday.
She said an antiviral inventory would complement the vaccine to fight the pandemic.
“This is another tool in the toolbox, but it’s an important tool,” she said.
Some experts welcome antiviral drugs as a breakthrough in the treatment of disease because they are designed to block enzymes that are essential for viral replication.
“If successful, oral antiviral therapy? May help reduce the severity or onset of COVID-19-infected or COVID-19-infected adults. Therefore, oral treatment options are COVID. -19 could be an important tool to help address the ongoing global impact of the pandemic, “Physer Canada’s Kevin Mohammed said in a written statement on Friday.
Merck’s clinical trials have shown, for example, a 50% reduction in the risk of hospitalization or death compared to placebo patients with mild or moderate COVID-19.
Oral medications are also more accessible than those that require intravenous administration, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Friday.
Current antivirals are only available to people in hospitals, so they are not available to people in remote areas or people with mild to moderate illness.
These new drugs can be prescribed and taken by patients at home.
“This treatment will significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people,” Duclos said on Friday.
Health Canada has prioritized reviews of all COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and has previously stated that it will work swiftly and thoroughly on new drug applications that may help combat the pandemic.