A new drug to save the lives of Covid-19 patients has been shown to represent a new lifeline for those most vulnerable to the virus, researchers said.
The combination of antibodies developed by Regeneron was found in the Recovery trial to reduce the risk of death when given to patients with severe Covid who did not have a natural antibody response.
The treatment uses a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab, known as REGEN-COV in the United States.
These specifically bind to two different sites on the coronavirus spike protein, neutralizing the virus’s ability to infect cells.
Between September 18, 2020 and May 22, 2021, 9,785 UK patients admitted to hospital with Covid were randomly assigned to receive usual care plus combined antibody treatment, or usual care alone.
The researchers found that among patients who received usual care alone, 28-day mortality was twice as high in those without an antibody response (30%) than in those (15%) who had previously developed natural antibodies against the virus.
For patients who did not have an antibody response, treatment reduced the risk of death within 28 days by a fifth, compared to usual care alone, according to the study.
The researchers said that for 100 of those patients treated with the combination of antibodies, there would be six fewer deaths.
The chances that these patients would need to be put on a ventilator were also reduced, as was the length of their stay in hospital.
However, the researchers said they did not know when the treatment would be approved for use in the UK, and note that it will not be a rapid rollout because the drug is not particularly easy to obtain.
Patients would also need antibody tests upon admission to hospital, which is not currently in place.
The study will be published as a pre-print on medRxiv and submitted for peer review.
“These results are very exciting”
Sir Martin Landray, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and joint chief investigator of the Recovery trial, said: ‘What we found was among those patients who were HIV negative. – they had not produced antibodies of their own, if you then give them this combination of two antibodies in an intravenous infusion, then the mortality has been reduced by a fifth.
“So instead of 30 percent dead, 24 percent died. So if you think of it differently, for every 100 patients who received the intravenous infusion, we would save six lives. ”
“Take a bunch of people, they are sick, they go to the hospital, they have Covid, they don’t have antibodies of their own, (this) will reduce their chances of dying, shorten their stay in the hospital and reduce the chances of needing a ventilator, ”he added.
“So this is sort of a first. It is an antiviral treatment that is used later – because these patients are severe, they are hospitalized – and has a clear demonstrated impact on survival and on these others. results.
“So in itself that’s an important result because these patients are some of the sickest patients, and here we now have a treatment that we didn’t have before.”
Sir Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and Joint Chief Investigator for the Recovery trial, said: “These results are very exciting.
“The hope was that by giving a combination of antibodies targeting the Sars-CoV-2 virus, we would be able to reduce the worst manifestations of Covid-19.
“There was, however, great uncertainty about the value of antiviral therapies in the late stage of Covid-19 disease.
“It’s wonderful to learn that even in advanced cases of Covid-19 disease, targeting the virus can reduce mortality in patients who have failed to develop their own antibody response.”
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This notice was published: 2021-06-16 09:21:35