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

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Two COVID-19 antibody treatments are no longer recommended. World Health Organization (WHO)on the grounds that the latest offshoots of the Omicron and variants may have rendered them obsolete.

Two treatments — designed to work by binding to SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein to neutralize the virus’ ability to infect cells — were some of the first to be developed early in the pandemic. There were medicines.

The virus has since evolved, and growing evidence from laboratory tests suggests that two treatments — sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab — have limited clinical activity against the latest iterations of the virus. As a result, they have also fallen out of favor with the US health regulator.

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On Thursday, WHO experts said they strongly advised against using the two treatments in patients. With COVID-19As part of the recommendations published in the British Medical Journal, replacing previous conditional recommendations endorsing them.

GSK and partner Vir Biotechnology’s sotrovimab – which has generated billions in sales and became one of the British pharmaceutical company’s top sellers last year – was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April. was removed from the market.

was given United States Penny Ward, visiting professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, said that as early as February it began to question the clinical effectiveness of sotrovimab against Omicron, a realization the WHO has come a little late.

The WHO, pictured here at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on April 6, 2021, is asking countries around the world to follow its lead and use the antibodies sutrovirumab and cacerivumab-imidevimab for Covid-19 patients. Stop recommending treatment.
(REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

“Now that the WHO has issued this recommendation, it will be interesting to see how many other countries adapt to it,” he said.

Regeneron and partner Roche’s antibody cocktail casirivimab-imdevimab also has billions in sales and was one of the top-selling U.S. drugmakers last year.

In January, the FDA revised its stance on the treatment, limiting its use to a small group of patients, citing its low potency against Omicron’s variant.

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

Another COVID therapy that emerged early in the pandemic was Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir. The WHO extended its conditional recommendation for the drug, suggesting that it could be used in patients with severe COVID as well as non-severe COVID who are at the highest risk of hospitalization.

There are a handful of current COVID treatments that remain effective in the fight against the virus, and others are in development that are expected to benefit patients as well.

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