A monoclonal antibody combination designed by Regeneron pharmaceuticals has been proven to cut down the risk of death by a fifth in Covid-19 patients.
The monoclonal antibody therapy is for those who do not develop antibodies in response to the Covid-19 infection. Without the help of the Regeneron drug, 30% of them will die. Among the patients who develop antibodies in response to coronavirus, 15% are likely to die.
The Regeneron's drug is a combination of two lab-made monoclonal antibodies - casirivimab and imdevimab. They can bind two different sites of coronavirus' spike protein. This will essentially prevent the virus from getting into cells.
The joint chief investigator of Recovery, Prof Sir Martin Landray said that the new drug can be useful in antiviral treatment. The lab-made antibodies can help the patients who otherwise have one in three chances of succumbing to the infection.
The Recovery trial run by Oxford University found that the drug can tackle the virus. Two drugs tested earlier were only effective in dealing with the inflammation that develops in the later stages of inflammation.
The drug has already been used in a small trial in the US. The results showed that if administered early, patients can be prevented from being sick enough for the hospital admission. The former US President Donald Trump was given a single dose. The drug is already approved in the US, but not in Europe.
Prof Sir Peter Horby expressed concern that the drug may not be affordable for developing nations. "The monoclonal antibody drugs have been around for 30 years. It has been licensed for 20 years. They are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cancer." He added that the results of the new trial may change the situation and make these drugs accessible for everyone.