UK approves another antibody treatment for Covidon December 2, 2021 at 8:39 am

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It’s called sotrovimab and should cuts the risk of severe illness, even for new variants such as Omicron, say scientists.

Antibodies attacking virus

Image source, Getty Images

The UK has approved another antibody treatment for people with Covid that cuts the risk of severe illness.

It’s called sotrovimab, and scientists say preliminary checks suggest it should work well even against new variants such as Omicron.

The drug, given as an infusion into a vein, binds to the virus to stop it entering our cells.

In a clinical trial, a single dose reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death by 79% in high risk adults.

It is the second drug of its kind – monoclonal antibody treatment – UK regulators have approved.

Both sotrovimab and ronapreve are most effective when taken during the early stages of infection. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommends they are used within five days of someone getting symptoms.

Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, said: “This is yet another therapeutic that has been shown to be effective at protecting those most vulnerable to Covid-19, and signals another significant step forward in our fight against this devastating disease.”

Drug company GSK, which made sotrovimab (Xevudy), says it has run some early tests in the lab to see how well the treatment fares against Omicron.

More checks are needed, but researchers say the drug targets a part of the spike protein of the virus that has not yet undergone big changes or mutations, meaning it should work well.

Aside from vaccines that are designed to help prevent infections happening in the first place, as well as cut the risk of getting very ill, there are a few different types of treatments for Covid.

They fall into three main categories:

  • Antibodies that can target the virus, taken from either survivors’ blood plasma or made in a lab (such as sotrovimab and ronapreve)
  • Antiviral pills, such as molnupiravir, that directly affect the coronavirus’s ability to thrive inside the body
  • Drugs, such as dexamethasone, that calm the immune system

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