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Expensive, but effective: a new drug has been found that saves in a severe form of COVID-19

Doctors, pharmacists and scientists have found a new drug for patients with severe covid. This cocktail of antibodies does not save everyone, but many, according to Air force.

Photo: Shutterstock

The new - and quite expensive - drug is a mixture of two types of antibodies obtained in the laboratory, which is injected intravenously and helps the body to neutralize the virus.

The Recovery Trial, a UK drug discovery trial, has shown that it helps one in three people hospitalized with severe covid.

Experts estimate that it saves six lives for every XNUMX patients treated.

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A drug from monoclonal (cloned from one cell) antibodies, which is made by the American company Regenoron, costs about $ 1400 to $ 2800. They can only be treated by those whose body itself has not developed antibodies that fight the coronavirus.

In Britain, this medicine was experimentally given to a thousand patients and it was found that it significantly reduces:

  • the risk of death;
  • hospital stay (on average four days);
  • the need for a ventilator.

“I was very lucky that these tests were already underway when I was admitted to the hospital with covid and that I received this medication,” says 37-year-old Kimberly Featherstone. "And I'm glad I took part in the trials and helped find out that the treatment works."

Sir Martin Landry, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Oxford University, one of the leaders of the trial, says the new drug reduces the risk of death among critically ill patients by about one-fifth.

“We have seen that by using antiviral treatment, in this case these antibodies, we are reducing the risk for patients who would have a one in three chance of dying without treatment,” said Professor Landry.

Combination with dexamethasone

The new drug was used in conjunction with dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid drug. A year ago, doctors discovered that dexamethasone alone reduced the risk of death from covid among critically ill patients by about a third.

Another head of the trials, also Oxford professor Sir Peter Hornby, says that so far, doctors and scientists have strongly doubted the effectiveness of antibody treatment: other studies have not yielded positive results.

Thus, attempts to treat patients by injecting plasma with antibodies from those who had had covid were unsuccessful.

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But the new drug, which has passed the Recovery trial program, contains large doses of artificial, laboratory-produced antibodies that successfully bind the coronavirus and prevent it from infecting cells.

“It's great to find out that such a targeted attack on the virus can reduce mortality among those patients who do not develop their own antibodies,” says Sir Peter Hornby.

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