Antivirals could be a pandemic game-changer — and they could be in Canada soon

As a pandemic-weary country confronts another wave of COVID-19 cases with a strained health care system, Health Canada is looking at new products that could offer some relief: antivirals.

Two such drugs are making their way through the labyrinthine Health Canada approvals process: Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir.

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

While Merck has grappled with questions about the efficacy of its product — molnupiravir is said to reduce hospitalization or death by 30 per cent — Paxlovid earned especially high marks

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