UAE doctors say Sotrovimab will improve Covid-19 treatment


Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi becomes the first city globally to receive the new Covid-19 treatment from global innovative biopharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Thu 17 Jun 2021, 6:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 17 Jun 2021, 6:44 PM

Healthcare experts in the UAE have hailed a new Covid-19 treatment drug received in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, stressing that it would be a great addition, especially in treating mild cases.

The world’s newest anti-viral treatment for Covid-19, Sotrovimab, is now available for treatment of certain categories Covid-19 patients in the UAE following a landmark agreement between the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, the country’s leading group purchasing organisation (GPO) Rafed, and global innovative biopharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). With the arrival of the first shipment on Wednesday, Abu Dhabi became the first city globally to receive this drug.

Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody treatment delivered through intravenous therapy. It can be used to treat adults and children above the age of 12 who meet certain criteria and are at the risk of progressing to severe Covid-19, as per protocols that have been developed by the National Scientific Committee. Studies have shown that the medicine could prevent hospitalisation and death in 85 per cent of early selected treatment cases and can work on all known variations to date, a statement issued on Wednesday said.

Dr Faisal Hamza Dalvi, specialist internal medicine, Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi, said Sotrovimab is specifically directed against the spike protein of Sars-CoV-2.

“This medicine is very effective in mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 infection. It is safe in children of more than 12 years of age. It is especially helpful in high-risk patients, including those aged 60 and above, people who have chronic lung diseases, people with moderate or severe asthma and serious cardiovascular disease, people with uncontrolled diabetes, renal failure and liver diseases, people who live in a long-term care facility and people who are immunocompromised or cancer patients.

According to Dr Dalvi, there are different Covid-19 treatments available, including Favipiravir and Remdesevir, which are very commonly used in the UAE and are extremely effective in moderate and severe cases of infection.

“Sotrovimab would be a good addition in mild cases. It can also help in reducing the severity of Covid-19 infection and thus avoiding ICU admissions and ventilatory support,” he added.

Dr Vikas Bhagat, HoD — critical care medicine, Aster Hospital, Mankhool, said the new drug gives the medical fraternity more hope.

“We are battling the third wave in the UAE currently. The whole world is waiting for a wonder drug which can help control the severity of this disease,” said Bhagat.

“Sotrovimab (VIR-7831, GlaxoSmithKline) is designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells. It is indicated for the treatment of non-hospitalised adults with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 symptoms and a positive Sars-CoV-2 test.”

He explained that treatment options currently available in the UAE are antivirals in the form of favipiravir/remdesivir, nebulisation in the form of bioferon-interferon alfa 2b, steroids in patients with lung involvement, tocilizumab in patients with cytokine storm to prevent further worsening and anticoagulation in the form of heparin.

“Despite having the above-mentioned treatments available, sometimes nothing seems to work for some patients,” said Bhagat.

“Most of these treatments (barring the antivirals) are targeted towards controlling the cascade of damage caused by the virus. But they don’t target greatly towards curbing the disease itself,” he said.

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