New Antibody Drug Keeps Mild COVID-19 From Worsening

(Reuters) – An antibody drug from Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline that protects against progression of COVID-19 in high-risk patients with mild to moderate disease has received emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In a large randomized trial, patient risk of progression to more severe illness was reduced by 85% with the drug, sotrovimab, compared to a placebo, according to an interim report from the trial posted on the medRxiv website in advance of peer review.

Everyone in the trial had risk factors for severe COVID-19 such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and old age.

Three of 291 patients (1%) in the sotrovimab group became sick enough to be hospitalized, versus 21 of 292 (7%) in the placebo group, researchers said.

All five patients who needed to be admitted to intensive care received placebo, they reported.

Serious complications were less common with sotrovimab than with placebo, they added.

The antibody treatment will be available for COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks, GSK and Vir said.

SOURCE: medRxiv, online May 28, 2021.

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