Australia: A drug usually used in COVID-19 treatment gives rise to fears of drug-resistant mutation in COVID-19 virus, according to a study by Australian virologists.
The drug sotrovimab used without monitoring of patients undergoing the treatment mutated the virus—which could spread in the community.
The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine details the analysis of the first 100 patients in western Sydney during the Delta outbreak in 2021. Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody, according to the report, is used in many countries to treat patients at risk of severe disease and death due to Covid-19 infection.
The drug is given via infusion in the first five days of infection, which helps to prevent disease from going severe. This human engineered monoclonal antibody can target omicron too.
The four of the patients in the observation developed drug resistance to sotrovimb six to thirteen days after treatment, according to lead author of the study, Dr Rebecca Rockett.
"We're not sure if sotrovimab helps neutralise the virus early on in the infection before it develops resistance. But often drugs are given to treat Covid-19 patients and there's not really any follow-up done. We realise that you can't follow every patient with PCR testing or genomic surveillance, but we are trying to advocate for patients that progress to severe disease despite the treatment that we investigate using genomics to see whether they've acquired any resistance mutations," the report quoted the researcher as saying.
The team avers the importance of monitoring patients administered with this drug. Because in their study, scientists found that they could still take samples from the patients and grow the virus in the lab. This does mean that they were still infectious, putting people at risk of the mutated virus.
Rockett suggested infected patients to undergo longer periods of rest before the virus is fully cleared. They should keep off from others without staying in the same household. The virus continued to stay in the patient up to 24 days after using the drug.