Outpatient Treatment for COVID-19

COVID-19

Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health are rolling out the administration of outpatient treatments like sotrovimab and Paxlovid, COVID-19 medications recently approved by Health Canada that are shown to prevent COVID-19 from progressing in high risk patients.

Learn More: Paxlovid|Sotrovimab

What Is Paxlovid?

Paxlovid, which was recently approved by Health Canada, is a new anti-viral drug that has been shown to prevent COVID-19 from progressing in high risk patients with mild to moderate symptoms, if taken within five days of symptom onset. Paxlovid is made up of two medications – Nirmatrelvir and Ritonavir – in pill form that are taken together twice a day for five days. More information on the Health Canada approval of Paxlovid.

When Will Paxlovid Be Available?

AHS is currently working on rolling out Paxlovid to eligible patients with COVID-19. As with any new medication, it will take some time to develop safe, efficient processes that ensure it’s accessible to all Albertans who require it. More information will be posted here soon.

AHS currently offers sotrovimab treatment for at-risk individuals. Paxlovid will be a second option for some individuals. While we work to ensure the safe roll-out of this new medication, sotrovimab remains available for Albertans who may benefit from treatment.


What Is Sotrovimab?

Sotrovimab is a new drug that was developed specifically for treating COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms. It is the first treatment to be offered to outpatients in Alberta and is administered by intravenous infusion within five days of symptom onset.

Am I Eligible for Sotrovimab Treatment?

Sotrovimab is for use in patients who have a RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 infection if they can receive the treatment within five days of symptom onset AND they are:

1. Unvaccinated and are:

  • Age 55 and older

OR

  • Age 18 and older with a pre-existing health condition including
    • diabetes (taking medication for treatment)
    • obesity (BMI >30)
    • chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate, <60 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area)
    • congestive heart failure (New York Heart Association class II, III, or IV)
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and moderate-to-severe asthma

OR

  • pregnant

OR

2. Immunocompromised, due to one of the following reasons (vaccinated or unvaccinated):

  • have received a transplant
  • is an oncology patients who has received a dose of any IV or oral chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive treatment since December 2020
  • has an inflammatory condition (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease) receiving a dose of any systemic immunosuppressive treatment since December 2020.

If you believe you are eligible, please call Health Link at 1-844-343-0971 and leave a message. Health Link staff will call you back and ask you some questions before referring you to a health professional who will determine if you are eligible, get your consent and book your appointment.

If you have any questions about the eligibility status, additional information can be found in the Patient FAQ.

I Received a Positive Result from an At-Home Rapid Test. Do I Still Qualify?

If you’ve received a positive test result from an at-home rapid test, you will still need to take a PCR test and have the test results confirmed before you receive the sotrovimab infusion. You must book a PCR test immediately before calling Health Link at 1-844-343-0971.

If you are a transplant patient, you will receive another rapid test from the healthcare provider. The test can be performed by the healthcare provider administering your treatment, prior to your infusion. If your PCR/rapid test result is negative, you will not be eligible to receive the infusion.

How Is It Administered?

Sotrovimab will be administered by IV infusion by the EMS Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) in patients’ homes or continuing care facility. In areas not serviced by EMS MIH, patients will be booked for an appointment at an AHS site or a third-party provider. Patients will receive the IV infusion treatment over one hour, and will be observed for another hour post-treatment.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and your symptoms began less than four days ago, please call 1-844-343-0971 to find out if you qualify to receive Sotrovimab.

Sotrovimab is reported to have the potential to prevent one hospital admission for every 20 patients who receive treatment.

Sotrovimab is not a replacement for COVID-19 vaccination. Albertans are strongly encouraged to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is a treatment that is available to those who are at a higher risk of worsening symptoms from the disease and who may require hospitalization.

Next Steps & Future Access

AHS is making every effort to ensure timely and fair access for all Albertans who qualify to receive this treatment; however, it is being rolled out in phases that we recognize may initially exclude some qualified patients. Future phases of the rollout will include an expanded patient criteria.