“It’s here,” infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told Global News. “If you look at the most recent genomic studies from Ontario it is the most prevalent lineage. And that was at the tail end of October. So by now, it’s much more than that.”
In Ontario, HV.1 was the most prevalent lineage (24.4 per cent) from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28. Public Health Ontario said it is projected to increase to 29.9 per cent by Nov. 15.
And in Canada, the variant made up 34.2 per cent of all reported COVID-19 cases as of Nov. 5.
As HV.1 spreads, health experts like Bogoch are cautioning that it may still be too early to determine if it’s more contagious. But symptoms, such as a fever, cough, runny nose and fatigue, may be similar to past variants.
Shortages of some commonly used drugs are spanning the country and it looks like they won’t ease up until after the new year. Now, pharmacists and patients are on the lookout for backup plans.
The persistent shortage of Lenoltec No. 4, the generic version of Tylenol 4 (also known as T4s), along with Ozempic, a widely used drug for Type 2 diabetes, has lasted for several months.
With the shortage of these drugs persisting, pharmacists say the backlog is steadily worsening.
“Once a shortage has been around for a while, it doesn’t take very long before the supply chain has run out because pharmacies are running on inventory. So once a shortage kind of hits it, it impacts things very quickly,” explained Jody Shkrobot, assistant clinical professor with the University of Alberta at the faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.
Kyro Maseh, a Toronto-based pharmacist, said his pharmacy has not had the generic Tylenol 4 drug for months, but he said the shortage is still “manageable.”
However, Maseh said the scarcity of Ozempic is by far a more serious problem, as there are not many alternatives to this drug.
Nicotine pouches are now available in Canada. What are they?
— WHAT EXPERTS ARE SAYING —
The arrival of nicotine pouches on the Canadian market has sparked worry among health experts, prompting a call for swift regulations given the legal availability of these products to children.
On Nov. 14, a group of Canadian health organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society, urged the federal government to restrict the availability of nicotine pouches, saying the product contains “a highly addictive drug.”
This comes nearly a month after Health Canada approved the sale of flavoured nicotine pouches from Imperial Tobacco, called Zonnic. According to a press release from the company, the product is a pouch that can help adult smokers quit by delivering nicotine to the body.
Nicotine pouches, positioned between the upper lip and gum, resemble Swedish-style snus but lack the tobacco leaf.
Although there isn’t any tobacco in the product, there is still nicotine. Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, argues that without regulations similar to those governing cigarette smoking, children face the risk of becoming addicted to these products.
“These nicotine pouches are clearly appealing to youth,” Cunningham added. “With attractive flavours such as Tropic Breeze, Chill Mint and Berry Frost, and with colourful, small packages that might well hold candy, of course, youth will want to buy them.”
Eric Gagnon, vice-president for legal and external affairs at Imperial Tobacco Canada, told Global News it’s “unfortunate” the product is being targeted, as the company has demonstrated to Health Canada that it helps adult smokers quit.