British Columbia

Here are the COVID-19 treatments available in B.C. and who's eligible to receive them

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few options for treating the disease available to patients in B.C., but not everyone who falls sick is eligible to receive them.

Sotrovimab and Paxlovid are both available for higher-risk people with mild or moderate symptoms

Two treatments are available in B.C. for people with mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19, while several more can be used for hospitalized patients. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few options for treating the disease available to patients in B.C., but not everyone who falls sick is eligible to receive them.

As of April 4, there are just two therapeutic medications approved here for use in patients with mild or moderate symptoms — Sotrovimab and Paxlovid.

Both treatments must be started within five days of developing symptoms, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), and they're only available to those at highest risk of serious infection.

Those who are eligible include:

  • People who are immunocompromised or classified by the province as being "clinically extremely vulnerable."
  • Those over the age of 70 with three or more chronic conditions.
  • People who haven't had a third vaccine shot and are over the age of 50 with three or more chronic conditions, or over the age of 70 with at least one chronic condition.
  • Indigenous people over the age of 70, or those over the age of 50 who haven't had three doses of vaccine.
  • Unvaccinated people over the age of 50 or with at least three chronic conditions.

Sotrovimab is what's known as an monoclonal antibody, and it's administered intravenously for a period of an hour in a hospital or clinic. It attaches to part of the SARS‑CoV‑2 virus and prevents it from entering and infecting healthy cells, according to the BCCDC.

Paxlovid is a pill taken orally that combines the antiviral drugs nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The drug is taken over five days and helps prevent symptoms from worsening.

A much longer list of treatments are available for patients sick enough to be hospitalized, including Dexamethasone, Tocilizumab, Baricitinib, Remdesivir and anticoagulation drugs. Clinical trials for other potential therapies are also underway, according to the BCCDC.

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