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Health Canada approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 therapeutic

Antiviral Paxlovid reduces hospitalization and death in high-risk COVID-19 patients

Dans un laboratoire, un chercheur tient une pilule dans une pince.

Government of Canada officials are holding a technical briefing on COVID-19 therapeutics.

Photo: Associated Press / Pfizer


Health Canada has approved Pfizer's COVID-19 therapeutic, paving the way for the distribution of this potentially lifesaving drug at a time when the country's hospitals are overwhelmed.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the health regulator's chief medical adviser, will speak to the media at 11 a.m. ET. CBCNews.ca will carry her remarks live.

Pfizer's Paxlovid, which is an antiviral prescribed by a doctor and administered in pill form, is designed to help the body fight off the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reduce symptoms from an infection and shorten the period of illness.

The product has been hailed as a pandemic game changer by some doctors because it could reduce hospitalizations and deaths among COVID-19 patients. An effective pill that's easy to self-administer at home could relieve some of the pressure on the health-care system and change the trajectory of the pandemic, experts say.

After months-long clinical trials, Pfizer reported in November that Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by an impressive 89 per cent compared to a placebo in non-hospitalized high-risk adults with COVID-19.

Canada has placed an order for an initial quantity of one million treatment courses. Some of that supply will start to arrive after Health Canada's expected approval.

John Paul Tasker (new window) · CBC News