BC’s top doctor stated the province made every attempt possible to get special access to Merck’s COVID-19 anti-viral pill and bring it into communities across the north seeing high transmission rates.
In an interview with Vista Radio, Dr. Bonnie Henry stated the product has not been made available by the British drug company yet as it is still awaiting approval from Health Canada.
Henry mentioned Merck as well as Pfizer’s pill treatment will eventually prove handy during BC’s pandemic response.
“Yes, it’s another tool. Obviously, it’s a tool that helps when people get sick with the virus and for people with underlying illnesses. It looks like it really can make a difference in helping prevent more severe illness but we want to prevent people from getting sick in the first place.”
In September, Merck (Merk) announced its preliminary results where hospitalizations and deaths were cut by half among patients with early symptoms.
In addition, Pfizer’s antiviral pill cuts the risk of hospitalization and death by 90-percent.
Both are also seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Henry also mentioned BC’s health care system remains in a bit of a “fragile state” even as caseloads stabilize.
She stated while new infections are going down, hospitalizations continue to be stubbornly high.
“We are still seeing quite high rates of hospitalization and it’s a challenge because it’s younger people who are not yet protected through vaccination and that is what is driving this strain on our health care system right now.”
“We are seeing healthy young people getting quite severely ill with this so now is the time to get protected.”
There are over 600 active cases of COVID-19 in Northern Health.
Forty-eight people in our region are battling the virus in hospital, 16 of which are in critical care.
According to the province, there have now been 109 people airlifted out of hospitals in Northern Health to other parts of BC. Of these, 97 tested positive for COVID-19.
– with files from Vista Radio news wire