Pfizer antiviral drug to be distributed in Beijing

Azvudine, an oral medicine developed by China’s Genuine Biotech, has also been approved….reports Asian Lite News

Beijing will begin distributing Pfizers Covid 19 drug Paxlovid to the city’s community health centres in the coming days, state media reported on Monday.

The report comes as the city grapples with an unprecedented wave of infections which have severely strained its hospitals and emptied pharmacy shelves, CNN reported.

The state-run China News Service reported Monday that after receiving training, community doctors will administer the medicine to Covid-19 patients and give instructions on how to use them, CNN reported.

“We have received the notice from officials, but it is not clear when the drugs will arrive,” it cited a worker at a local community health centre in Beijing’s Xicheng district as saying.

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

Azvudine, an oral medicine 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 over its heavy economic and social toll.

The abrupt change in policy has sparked panic buying of fever and cold medicines, leading to widespread shortages, both at pharmacies and on online shopping platforms. Long lines have become routine outside fever clinics and hospital wards overflowing with patients in the capital Beijing and elsewhere in the country, CNN reported.

On Monday, Chinese state media CCTV quoted President Xi Jinping as saying the country needed a more targeted health strategy to protect people’s lives as the Covid situation in China changes.

“Xi Jinping emphasised that our country is currently facing a new Covid outbreak situation and new responsibilities, we need to conduct our patriotic health movement in a more targeted manner,” the CCTV report said.

It was one of the first public statements made by Xi about China’s Covid situation since the government’s decision to ease its strict restrictions, CNN reported.

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