America’s Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization Saturday to an experimental antibody treatment (for people already experiencing Covid-19), reports the Washington Post:
The drug, made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is designed to prevent infected people from developing severe illness. Instead of waiting for the body to develop its own protective immune response, the drug imitates the body’s natural defenses. It is the second drug of this type — called a monoclonal antibody — to be cleared for treating covid-19. The FDA authorized Eli Lilly & Co.’s drug on Nov. 9.
Regeneron’s drug is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, called casirivimab and imdevimab. The FDA said in authorizing the cocktail that it may be effective in treating mild to moderate covid-19 in adults and children 12 or older, and is indicated for those at high risk of developing severe illness. Doctors hope the drugs will keep those patients from being hospitalized… Regeneron executives said on the company’s earnings call in early November that they project having enough doses for 80,000 patients by the end of November, and 300,000 total doses by the end of January…
In a clinical trial, the Regeneron drug reduced hospitalizations or emergency room visits when given to people at high risk of developing severe disease. It was also shown to reduce the amount of virus in people’s bodies… The safety and effectiveness of the drug will continue to be studied. It is not authorized for use in hospitalized patients… In a study published Oct. 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers said the Lilly cocktail lowered the risk of follow-up medical visits and reduced levels of virus in people with mild to moderate symptoms of covid-19.
The progress on monoclonal antibodies comes as pharmaceutical and biotech companies are racing to produce coronavirus vaccines… The antibody treatments can play an important role in making the disease less dangerous.