New Covid drug Sotrovimab that cuts risk of death by nearly 80% is approved in UK amid fight against Omicron

A NEW Covid drug that cuts the risk of death by nearly 80 per cent has been approved in the UK amid the fight against Omicron.

Xevudy (Sotrovimab) was given the green light as it's been deemed safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in Covid patients.

The antibody treatment is most effective during the early stages of coronavirus illness – and should be administeredwithin five days of showing symptoms.

Clinical trials showed that the drug was able to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by 79 per cent among high-risk adults.

The ground breaking drug was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) this morning.

The approval comes as ten more cases of the Omicron variant were detected in the UK yesterday.

There are early indications from scientists that the drug "retains activity against key mutations", experts at manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline said.

It's too early to know whether or not the Omicron variant has any impact on how effective the newly approved drug will be.

The MHRA is working with the manufacturer to establish how effective it could be at helping patients who contract the strain.

Sotrovimab is now the second monoclonal antibody therapeutic to be approved – following Ronapreve.

Ronapreve was approved for use in UK patients in August and had previously been used to treat Donald Trump.

The regulator said this morning: "In a clinical trial, a single dose of the monoclonal antibody was found to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by 79 per cent in high-risk adults with symptomatic Covid-19 infection.

"Based on the clinical trial data, sotrovimab is most effective when taken during the early stages of infection and so the MHRA recommends its use as soon as possible and within five days of symptom onset."

The drug works by binding to the spike protein on the outside of the Covid virus.

This in turn prevents the virus from attaching to and entering human cells – so that it cannot replicate in the body.

As a result, people who take the drug are likely to have a less severe reaction to the virus, resulting in lower hospitalisation and death rates.

The drug has been authorised for use in people who have mild to moderate Covid infection, and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. 

This includes obesity, being over 60, diabetes, or heart disease.

COVID HOPE

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive said: “I am pleased to say that we now have another safe and effective Covid-19 treatment, Xevudy (sotrovimab), for those at risk of developing severe illness.

“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.

“With no compromises on quality, safety and effectiveness, the public can trust that the MHRA have conducted a robust and thorough assessment of all the available data.”

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Commission on Human Medicines, said: “The Commission on Human Medicines and its Covid-19 Therapeutics Expert Working Group has independently reviewed the data and agrees with the MHRA’s regulatory approval of sotrovimab.

“When administered in the early stages of infection, sotrovimab was found to be effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in high-risk individuals with symptomatic Covid-19.

"Based on the data reviewed by the Commission and its expert group, it is clear sotrovimab is another safe and effective treatment to help us in our fight against Covid-19.”

More to follow…

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