- Sex & Drugs
- 02 Dec 21
A single dose of the new COVID-19 drug was found to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by 79% in high-risk adults.
British regulatory agencies have approved the use of a new COVID-19 drug that could help drastically cut the risk of hospitalisation and death.
Xevudy (sotrovimab) has been approved today by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The drug, produced by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology, was found to be safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections.
“I am pleased to say that we now have another safe and effective COVID-19 treatment, Xevudy (sotrovimab), for those at risk of developing severe illness," said MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine. “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.
“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.”
GSK and Vir Biotechnology have stated that early data shows that the drug “retains activity against key mutations of the new Omicron Sars-CoV-2 variant”.
“Sotrovimab was deliberately designed with a mutating virus in mind," said Vir Biotechnology CEO George Scangos. “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.
The MHRA has cautioned that it is still too early to tell whether the drug will be as effective against the Omicron variant.
The news follows the approval of the first oral COVID treatment, Lagevrio (molnupiravir), authorised by the UK early last month. The oral drug was originally thought to decrease hospitalisation by 50%, though recent studies have shown a reduction in efficacy down to 30%.
Unlike molnupiravir, the new treatment will be administered intravenously with an infusion lasting over 30 minutes. The drug is currently approved for people over the age of 12.