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02nd Dec 2021

New covid drug that cuts risk of death by 80% given UK approval

Charlie Herbert

Covid drug

The drug is most effective in the early stages of infection

UK regulators have approved a new drug that cuts the risk of hospitalisation and death from covid-19 by just under 80 per cent.

Xevudy, also known as sotrovimab, has been developed by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology and is a monoclonal antibody administered through intravenous infusion over half an hour.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now given approval for the drug to be used in the UK for those aged 12 or over and with a higher risk of developing severe covid-19.

It is authorised for the treatment of people with mild to moderate infections, as well as at least one risk factor for becoming seriously ill, such as obesity, being over the age of 60, diabetes mellitus and heart disease.

In clinical trials, a single dose of Xevudy cut the risk of hospitalisation and death among high risk adults with covid-19 by 79 per cent.

The drug was most effective when administered during the early stages of infection.

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, said: “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.

“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.”

It is understood that the government and the NHS will confirm how the treatment will be deployed in due course.

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