January 23, 2022

Pfizer submits data on antiviral COVID-19 pill to Health Canada for review

TORONTO —
Pfizer has submitted clinical data to Health Canada regarding an oral medication it is hoping can be used to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in adults.

Its antiviral pill is called PAXLOVID, and is intended to be given to adults aged 18 and over who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 and are at an increased risk of developing severe illness.

The drug maker said in a press release that the pill is designed to block the activity of an enzyme in SARS-CoV-2 that is essential for the virus to replicate itself, and also help to slow the breakdown of the pill’s ingredients in order to help combat the virus for longer. Part of the pill uses ritonavir, an existing drug that has been used in combination with other antiviral medications before.

This comes two months after Health Canada began reviewing an experimental pill from drugmaker Merck, called molnupiravir, as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Merck’s pill is still under review in Canada, but has been approved in the U.K. and the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted Tuesday to approve Merck’s pill as the first medication that Americans could take at home to treat COVID-19.

Both Merck and Pfizer have agreed to allow other countries to manufacture their antiviral medications, although Pfizer’s has yet to be approved anywhere.

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