L’World Health Organization announced the inclusion of a new drug in the increasingly large “arsenal” against the Covid pandemic. It is a mix of monoclonal antibodies produced by Regeneron e Roche Pharmaceutical, which, however, still has very high costs and suffers from the lack of extensive production plans.
The combination therapy is now being negotiated between the program Unitaid and the two companies to lower the price and guarantee one fair distribution internationally even for the poorest countries.
WHO has also announced that it is in talks with the company for a distribution channel that will cover a number of free doses and intended for children throughUnicef.
The agency also launched a campaign to allow other companies to apply for the production of biosimilar versions of the mix of monoclonal antibodies, in order to guarantee access to treatment to the widest possible audience of patients.
Covid, WHO green light for the use of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody mix: what it is
The green light for the use of this antibody mix arrived on Friday 24 September from the committee that deals with the development of the WHO guidelines, which recommends the treatment based on casirivimab e imdevimab to two specific groups of Covid patients.
The mix of the two monoclonal antibodies binds to protein Spike of Sars-Cov-2, neutralizing the coronavirus’s ability to infect human cells, but only under certain conditions.
Experts recommend Regeneron’s preparation for patients with Covid not serious but at high risk of hospitalization and those who have contracted the disease in shape severe but they turn out seronegative. That is, they have not developed an antibody response to the pathogen.
The studies on which WHO recommendations are based were published in the British Medical Journal. These are three clinical trials, not yet reviewed, which show that the combination of casirivimab and imdevimab can reduce hospitalizations and the duration of symptoms for people most at risk.
It is about the following categories.
One of the research also shows a reduction in mortality and the need to be subjected to assisted breathing for patients seronegative.
For all other Covid patients, however, they were not found improvements relevant and nor particular benefits after treatment with the Regeneron and Roche monoclonal antibody mix.
Covid, WHO recommends the use of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody mix: critical
In addition to the high production costs, it must be emphasized that the treatment with this preparation can be particularly expensive also because it involves, for example, the use of test rapid serologicals to identify serious patients who could benefit from treatment.
The mix must also be administered for intravenously using specific tools and the patient must be constantly monitored during and after the injection for possible allergic reactions.
Among the other weaknesses of the therapy is the possibility that, with the onset of new variants and the possibility of them becoming endemic as happened with the variant Delta, become weaker or have a reduced effect.
However, the new WHO guidelines offer an opportunity to continue the search for one treatment effective against Covid-19. The use of IL-6 inhibitors and the systemic use of corticosteroids, while the use of ivermectina hydroxychloroquine for all virus positive patients.