Sotrovimab: New COVID drug which cuts risk of hospitalisation and death by 79% approved for use in UK in people aged 12 years and older | UK News

A new drug which can reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID by 79% has been approved for use in the UK for people aged 12 and up.

Xevudy – also known as sotrovimab – has been given the greenlight by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after being found to cut the risk of serious illness in high-risk adults who had COVID symptoms.

The drug was developed by London-based GlaxoSmithKline in conjunction with Vir Biotechnology in California – and the makers say preclinical data shows the drug “retains activity against key mutations of the new Omicron variant”.

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A new treatment against COVID-19 has been approved by @MHRAgovuk.

We’ll closely monitor how effective Xevudy is against the Omicron variant and will work on deployment plans with the NHS.

— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) December 2, 2021

But the MHRA has said it is too early to confirm this.

George Scangos, Vir chief executive, said: “Sotrovimab was deliberately designed with a mutating virus in mind.

“By targeting a highly conserved region of the spike protein that is less likely to mutate, we hoped to address both the current Sars-CoV-2 virus and future variants that we expected would be inevitable.”

In a statement, the MHRA said: “Like molnupiravir, [Xevudy] has been authorised for use in people who have mild to moderate COVID-19 infection and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness.

“Such risk factors include obesity, older age (over 60 years), diabetes mellitus, or heart disease.

MUST CREDIT GSK/Vir Biotechnology Another COVID-19 treatment, Xevudy (sotrovimab), has today been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after it was found to be safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection who are at an increased risk of developing severe disease.

The new drug is administered by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes. Pic: GSK/Vir Biotechnology

“Unlike molnupiravir, sotrovimab is administered by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes.

“It is approved for individuals aged 12 and above who weigh more than 40kg.

“It is too early to know whether the Omicron variant has any impact on sotrovimab’s effectiveness but the MHRA will work with the company to establish this.”

Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, said: “This is yet another therapeutic that has been shown to be effective at protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19, and signals another significant step forward in our fight against this devastating disease.

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“With no compromises on quality, safety and effectiveness, the public can trust that the MHRA have conducted a robust and thorough assessment of all the available data.”

The UK has ordered around 100,000 doses of sotrovimab.

The UK’s COVID armoury

With the approval of Sotrovimab and the rollout of the booster scheme, the UK now has a variety of treatments to fight COVID.

Vaccine: Pfizer-BioNTech – also known as Comirnaty, this mRNA jab was initially given in a two dose course, but boosters are now available. The UK has ordered 54 million doses for 2022 and 2023.

Vaccine: Moderna – Another mRNA vaccine, this was also a two dose course, with boosters also available. Some 60 million more doses are due in the next two years.

Vaccine: AstraZeneca-Oxford – also known as Vaxzevria, this adenovirus jab was given as a two dose course. It will be offered as a booster dose to those who are not able to have the mRNA jabs.

Vaccine: Janssen-Johnson & Johnson – while the single shot vaccine is approved in the UK, all of the doses ordered have been donated to COVAX as demand can be met by the mRNA jabs.

Treatment: Ronapreve – developed by Regeneron and Roche, this antibody treatment is a mix of casirivimab and imdevimab and is given via IV in hospital to people with COVID.

Treatment: Molnupiravir – also known as Lagevrio, is an antiviral taken in pill form developed by Ridgeback and Merck. It is given as a tablet twice a day to people with COVID symptoms.

Treatment: Sotrovimab – also known as Xevudy, is an antibody treatment, and is given through an IV over the course of half an hour. It is for people who have mild infections.

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