New antibody treatments have shown promise in keeping high-risk Covid-19 patients out of the hospital, doctors in the UAE have said.
Medics pointed out that while a vaccine (active immunity) prepares the immune system to battle future infections, an antibody (passive immunity) injected into a patient can immediately treat an existing SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The experimental antibody cocktail which the then US President Donald Trump received when he tested positive for Covid-19 offers benefits against the novel coronavirus infection. However, the drugs have not been widely used since being authorised for emergency use.
Dr Anil Grover, specialist internal medicine, Prime Hospital, pointed out: “Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune systems’ ability to fight off harmful antigens like Covid-19 virus. Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody directed specifically against spike protein of Covid-19 virus and blocks its attachment into human cells.”
He added: “US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and DHA (Dubai Health Authority) have approved its use for mild to moderate cases in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40kg who are not hospitalised and are at high risk of progressing to severe Covid-19 and/or hospitalisation. It is not authorised for severe or critical or hospitalised patients or those who require oxygen or mechanical ventilation or are pregnant”.
Meanwhile, it has shown to reduce hospitalisation, emergency visits and disease progression in clinical trials.
Dr Jimmy Joseph, specialist internal medicine and diabetologist, Aster Speciality Medical Centre - International City, said: “Cocktail antibody therapy is mixing monoclonal antibodies that bind different ‘weak spots’ on the virus and therefore, can simultaneously block the virus in several places. Using cocktails or combination helps to overcome the issue of virus mutation. It is unlikely that a virus can have multiple mutations simultaneously. So this combination helps to overcome the problem of single mutation.”
Dr Joseph underlined: “Casirivimab and imdevimab are not authorised for patients who are hospitalised due to Covid-19 or require oxygen therapy due to coronavirus. The safety and effectiveness of this investigational therapy for use in the treatment of Covid-19 continues to be evaluated.”
Shedding light on the success rate of this treatment, doctors highlighted that studies have noted the therapeutic potential of (this approach) to both protect from and treat SARS-CoV-2 disease.
Dr Rajesh Kumar Gupta, specialist internal medicine, Burjeel Specialty Hospital Sharjah, said: “As per Lilly’s BLAZE-1 phase 3 study, cocktail of monoclonal antibodies BAMLANIVIMAB 700mg and ETESEVIMAB 1400mg single intravenous dose reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death by Covid-19 positive mild to moderate cases by 87 per cent.
Some other studies also reported monoclonal antibodies are useful in treating patients with rapid respiratory decompensation. Another study from Regeneron indicates Casirivimab and Imdevimab antibody cocktails gave 100 per cent protection against symptomatic infection within a household setting. It has reduced the overall infection rate by 50 per cent. Those who were infected had a 100-fold lower viral load.”
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