Home Health WHO ‘strongly advises against’ use of antibody therapies as COVID treatment

WHO ‘strongly advises against’ use of antibody therapies as COVID treatment

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Two COVID-19 antibody therapies have been deprecated by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the basis that the latest derivatives of Omicron and its subspecies have likely made them obsolete.

The two treatments, designed to work by binding to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and neutralizing the virus’ ability to infect cells, were the first to be developed early in the pandemic. It was part of the medicine.

The virus has since evolved, and growing evidence from laboratory testing suggests that two therapies, sotrovimab and casilibimab-imdevimab, have limited clinical activity against the latest iteration of the virus. As a result, they also lost the support of US health regulators.

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On Thursday, WHO experts strongly advised against using the two treatments for COVID-19 patients, as part of a series of recommendations published in the British Journal of Medicine, with previous conditional recommendations supporting them. covered the matter.

GSK and partner Vir Biotechnology’s sotrovimab, which generated billions of dollars in sales and was one of the UK’s top-selling pharmaceutical companies last year, was removed from the US market by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April. withdrew.

Given that the United States began questioning the clinical efficacy of sotrovimab against Omicron as early as February, the WHO’s recognition is a bit behind, says Penny Penny, a visiting professor of pharmacy at King’s College London. Ward said.

On 6 April 2021, WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland called on countries around the world to follow WHO leadership and stop recommending sotrovimab and casilibimab-imdevimab antibody therapy for COVID patients.
(REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

“Now the WHO has released this recommendation. It will be interesting to see how many other countries agree with it,” she said.

Regeneron and partner Roche’s antibody cocktail casirivimab-imdevimab also generated billions of dollars in sales and was one of last year’s top sellers for US pharmaceutical companies.

Back in January, the FDA amended its stance on the treatment, citing reduced efficacy against the Omicron variant, limiting its use to a smaller group of patients.

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Both treatments continue to be recommended for use by European drug regulators.

Another COVID treatment that emerged early in the pandemic was Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir. The WHO has expanded its conditional recommendation for the drug, advising that it can be used not only for severe COVID patients, but also for non-severe COVID patients who are most at risk of hospitalization.

While there are several existing COVID treatments that are useful in fighting the virus, there are others in development that are expected to help patients as well.

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