WHO ‘strongly advises against’ use of two COVID treatments

A woman holds a small bottle labeled “coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine” and a medical syringe in this illustration taken on Oct. 30, 2020. – Reuters
  • Two COVID-19 antibody treatments are no longer recommended by the WHO.
  • Viruses have evolved since the first drugs were developed.
  • Both treatments continue to be recommended for use by the European Medicines Regulator.

LONDON: Two Covid-19 antibody treatments are no longer recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), on the grounds that Omicron and its latest offshoots may have made 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 drugs to be developed early. Epidemic

The virus has since evolved, and growing evidence from laboratory tests suggests that two treatments — sotrovimab as well as 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.

Also read: The unluckiest man in the world to have covid, monkey pox and HIV at the same time.

On Thursday, WHO experts said they strongly advised against the use of two treatments in Covid-19 patients, as part of recommendations published in the British Medical Journal, endorsing them. Replaced previous conditional recommendations.

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.

Penny Ward, visiting professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, said that given that the US began questioning the clinical effectiveness of sotrovimab against Omicron as early as February, the WHO’s realization is a little late.

“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.

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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