Covid breakthrough: First real-life trial of antibodies – reduce hospitalisations by 70%

Another lockdown possible in Boris' winter Covid plan

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It is the latest test of a number of the US’ clinical trial machines. The treatment is known as monoclonal antibody therapy. The laboratory-made proteins are designed to interact with the spike protein at the heart of the coronavirus, in order to prevent it from binding to and entering our cells. It’s a form of immunotherapy that has also been used on cancer patients.

It has proven now to be an effective treatment for patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 but are at a high risk of complications, including patients infected with the delta variant.

PeaceHealth Medical Group Chief Medical Officer Dr Shaun Harper said in a statement: “Monoclonal antibody therapy has been proven to reduce hospitalizations in about 70 percent of high-risk, COVID-positive patients,”

“The goal of the treatment is to prevent hospitalizations, reduce viral loads and lessen symptom severity.”

The two monoclonal antibody products, called bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab (or more commonly known as Regeneron), were recently given Emergency Use Authorizations by the United States Food and Drug Administration and were administered for the first time in a large trial in a real-world clinical setting.

These drugs are IV infusions that are required to be taken at a medical facility and not at home.

Patients in the trial had to test positive for COVID-19 by PCR or rapid antibody testing to qualify.

They also had to be high-risk, by being either over 65 years of age and having a BMI above 35 or one or more chronic health conditions such as diabetes.

Patients also needed to have only been experiencing for 10 days or less, not hospitalised, and not on supplemental oxygen.

The treatment was not given to more severely ill people based on previous experience with how the treatment works in smaller trials.

Monoclonal antibody treatments have started to be rolled out in the US and demand is soaring for the treatment as the US struggles to contain cases of the Delta Variant.

Areas receiving the treatment is spread unequally, with seven states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas, having used 70% of the federal supply of monoclonal antibodies.

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But the Biden administration did boost supplies last week by buying 1.4m more doses from Regeneron and 400,000 doses from Eli Lilly.

Around 2.4m treatments have been shipped around the country, with at least 1.1m of them having been used.

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