Health Canada Authorizes Remdesivir to Treat Severe COVID-19 As Canada Sees Uptick in Cases Amid New Outbreaks

According to the country’s top doctor, Canada’s coronavirus curve is seeing an “uptick” in new COVID-19 cases as provinces across the country report new outbreaks of the virus. 

On Tuesday afternoon during a news briefing on Canada’s response to the pandemic, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said that the individual curves of each province and territory are leading the national curve in “an upward direction”. 

“This is a worrisome sign,” said the Chief Public Health Officer on Tuesday. “But the fate of the flattening of the curve is still within reach of our hands.”

It was reported that the number of COVID-19 cases reported daily in Canada has increased to an average of 496 new cases, up from the rolling average of 487 new cases as reported by Dr. Theresa Tam last week. 

“As I have said, the upward trend, this indicator of COVID-19 activity, is something that we must keep a very close eye on,” said Dr. Tam. 

“Local public health authorities are doing their best to rapidly find cases and trace contacts to prevent further spread and investigate where transmission is occurring.”

With the August long weekend coming soon (August 3rd is Civic Holiday in Ontario), Dr. Tam continues to urge Canadians to limit social contact, maintain physical distancing measures and hand hygiene practices, as well as conduct research on the level of risk involved in participating in activities outside the house. 

Health Canada officially authorizes the use of Remdesivir to treat severe cases of COVID-19

In a press release on Tuesday morning, Health Canada announced it has authorized the use of the drug “remdesivir”, one of the first drugs the agency has authorized as treatment of COVID-19, to treat patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. 

The drug is said to be used for patients with severe pneumonia symptoms as a result of their COVID-19 infection and to those who require supplemental oxygen to breathe. 

Government officials have said that the drug will not be available for use outside of a hospital setting, however. 

Presently, the drug is approved with the condition that requires its manufacturer, Gilead, to continue to monitor the safety and efficacy of “remdesivir” in treating COVID-19 patients. 

Other countries such as the United States, Singapore, Japan, Australia, and Europe have already conditionally approved the drug for use of treating COVID-19 patients with Canada being the latest country to do so. 

According to a U.S government-led study, “remdesivir” shortened recovery time of a patient infected with COVID-19 by 31 percent (11 days on average versus 15 days for those who were given usual care). 

While Canada recently approved the use of the drug for treatment, acquiring “remdesivir” could prove to be difficult as the U.S government purchased nearly the entire global supply at the end of June. 

 “Quite frankly, the supply is very limited globally from this company,” said Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer at a press conference Tuesday.

“So those discussions are taking place right now, I think the company will begin to accelerate its capacity but the bottom line is the supply is not plentiful. So we will do what we can to get some of the supply for Canada.”

Canada’s COVID-19 Statistics: 

Confirmed Cases: 114,554

Recovered: 99,859

Deaths: 8,901

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