Paxlovid: Beijing distributes antiviral drug Pfizer as Covid surge strains healthcare system

Paxlovid: Beijing distributes antiviral drug Pfizer as Covid surge strains healthcare system
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Beijing will begin distribution Pfizer’s Covid-19 friend Paxlovid to the city’s community health centers in the coming days, state media reported on Monday.

The report comes as the city grapples with it an unprecedented wave of infections that have strained his hospitals and emptied pharmacy shelves.

The state-run China News Service reported Monday that community doctors will administer the drug to Covid-19 patients after training and provide instructions on how to use it.

“We have received the notification from officials, but it is not clear when the drugs will arrive,” he quoted a worker at a local health center in Beijing’s Xicheng District as saying.

Paxlovid remains the only foreign drug to treat Covid approved by China’s regulator for nationwide use, but access is extremely difficult. When a Chinese healthcare platform offered the antiviral drug earlier this month, it sold out within hours.

Azvudine, an oral drug developed by China’s Genuine Biotech, has also been approved.

After nearly three years of lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing, China abruptly abandoned its zero-Covid policy this month following nationwide protests at its heavy economic and social toll.

The abrupt change in policy has led to panic buying of fever and cold medicines, causing widespread shortages both in pharmacies and on online shopping platforms. Long lines outside fever clinics and infirmaries overflowing with patients in the capital Beijing and elsewhere in the country have become routine.

Chinese state media quoted CCTV as saying on Monday President Xi Jinping He said the country needs a more focused health strategy to protect people’s lives as the Covid situation in China changes.

“Xi Jinping stressed that our country is currently facing a new Covid outbreak situation and new responsibilities. We need to be more focused on our patriotic health movement,” the CCTV report said.

It was one of Xi’s first public statements on China’s Covid situation since the government’s decision to ease its strict restrictions.

An emergency doctor in Beijing told the state-run People’s Daily on Thursday that four doctors on his shift didn’t have time to eat or drink. “We saw patients non-stop,” he said.

Another paramedic told the newspaper he worked despite developing fever symptoms. “The number of patients is high, and with fewer medical staff, the pressure multiplies,” said the doctor.

In a sign of the strain on Beijing’s medical system, hundreds of health professionals from across China have traveled to the city to support medical centers.

As the capital, Beijing has some of the best medical resources in the country. However, the abrupt zero-Covid turnaround has left people and healthcare facilities ill-prepared for a surge in infections.

China’s official Covid case count has become meaningless after mass testing was rolled back and residents were allowed to take antigen tests and isolate at home. It stopped reporting asymptomatic cases and acknowledged that it was no longer able to track the true number of infections.

According to internal estimate According to the National Health Commission, nearly 250 million people in China contracted Covid in the first 20 days of December – accounting for about 18% of the country’s population.

Experts have warned that when people in big cities return to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year next month, the virus could sweep through China’s vast rural areas, where vaccination rates are lower and medical resources are severely lacking.

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