COVID drug cuts risk of death or hospitalisation in high-risk adults by 79%

A second drug treatment for COVID-19 has been approved by the UK medicines regulator after it was found to cut risk of hospitalisation and death in high-risk adults by 79%.

MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine (Photo: Frank Augstein/Getty Images)

The MHRA approved the monoclonal antibody treatment sotrovimab, after trials found it reduced risk of hospitalisation and death by 79% in high-risk adults with symptomatic COVID-19 infection.

The drug is the second approved in the UK to treat COVID-19 - after the MHRA approved the antiviral molnupiravir (Lagevrio) in early November.

Unlike molnupiravir, which is taken orally, sotrovimab - also known as Xevudy - is administered by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes. It has been approved for individuals aged 12 and above who weigh more than 40kg.

Regulators have said it is ‘too early’ to know whether the Omicron variant has any impact on sotrovimab’s effectiveness - and have stressed it is not intended to be used as a substitute for COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 treatment

Sotrovimab 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 as obesity, diabetes, heart disease or age over 55.

Clinical trials found the treatment is most effective when taken in the early stages of infection and the MHRA advises it is used ‘as soon as possible and within five days of symptom onset’. The regulator said the government and NHS would confirm in 'due course' how the treatment will be deployed.

MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine, 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.’

Chair of the Commission on Human Medicines Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, said: ‘When administered in the early stages of infection, sotrovimab was found to be effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in high-risk individuals with symptomatic COVID-19. [It is] another safe and effective treatment to help us in our fight against COVID-19.’

The first drug treatment against coronavirus was approved earlier this month and is recommended for use on people who contract COVID and suffer with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or that are 60 years and older.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GP appointment

General practice delivered 342m appointments in 2022 - and lost nearly 500 GPs

General practice in England delivered around 342m appointments in total in 2022 with...

NHS sign

Local GPs unite to take over two practices run by hospital trust

GPs in Swindon have come together to take over two practices that had spent more...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Why are junior doctors preparing to strike?

Talking General Practice speaks to BMA GP trainee committee chair Dr David Smith...

Money

Practices face losing out on QOF income amid soaring demand

GP practices risk losing out on QOF income this year because sky-high demand for...

Nurse giving older man a COVID-19 vaccine

JCVI recommends targeted COVID-19 vaccination programme in 2023

People at higher risk of severe COVID-19 should be offered a booster vaccination...

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay leaving number 10 Downing Street

Government sets out plans for 'major conditions' health strategy

The government is to set out a strategy to tackle six 'major' health conditions in...