Health Canada approves Pfizer COVID-19 oral treatment Paxlovid for adults

On Monday, Health Canada approved Pfizer’s oral antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in people 18 and older.

Health Canada based its decision on clinical data from the Phase 2/3 trial (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in High-Risk Patients), which enrolled non-hospitalized adults aged 18 and older with confirmed COVID-19 cases, who were at an increased risk of progressing to severe illness.

According to results of the Phase 2/3 trials, Paxlovid (PF-07321332; ritonavir) was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% compared to placebo in non-hospitalized high-risk adults with COVID-19. In the overall study population through Day 28, no deaths were reported in patients who received Paxlovid as compared to 10 deaths in patients who received a placebo.

Additional Phase 2/3 clinical trials are ongoing in adults at standard risk (i.e., low risk of hospitalization or death) of progressing to severe illness, and in those who have been exposed to the virus through household contacts.

According to a Pfizer Canada press release, Paxlovid was developed to be administered orally so that it can be prescribed at the first sign of infection (or, subject to regulatory authorization, at first awareness of an exposure), potentially helping patients avoid severe illness or avoid disease development following contact with a household member who contracts COVID-19. It is authorized to be administered twice daily for five days.

Meanwhile, Ontario released its latest COVID-19 numbers:  8,521 new COVID cases were reported on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 956,607; 3,887 people are in hospital with COVID-19, with 578 in intensive care (although not all hospitals report on weekends).

The province also reported 22 more deaths, a decrease from the 40 deaths recorded in the previous report.

According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, over 50% of Ontario children aged 5–11 have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; 91.4% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 88.7% have two doses.

“Vaccines are safe, effective & the best way to protect children from the virus,” Elliott reminded Ontarians.

In Ontario, 29,522,313 vaccine doses have been administered, with over 67,000 doses administered yesterday.

Click here for more info on COVID-19 wastewater surveillance, here for more COVID-19 Ontario news, and here for where you could get rapid COVID-19 tests in Toronto (including a drive-thru option).

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO