WHO recommends treatment with monoclonal antibodies against covid-19 – 24/09/2021

The WHO (World Health Organization) on Thursday recommended the combined use of the drugs casirivimab and imdevimab, which use monoclonal antibodies, to treat non-serious cases of covid-19 in people at risk of hospitalization, although it asked the company to manufactures to facilitate access to them, due to high costs.

The two drugs are produced by the American company Regeneron and were used last year by the then president of the United States, Donald Trump, when he had covid-19. However, the cocktail treatment, without health insurance coverage, can cost thousands of dollars.

In its updated guidelines for the treatment of patients with covid, WHO has decided to include the monoclonal antibody combination, which it also recommends in severe and critical cases of the disease, but only if the patient does not have antibodies against it.

This is the first treatment recommended by the world organization for non-serious cases of coronavirus. Until then, there were only two drugs on the entity’s list, and only for critically ill or critically ill patients: corticosteroids such as dexamethasone (cheap and available worldwide) and interleukin-6 antagonists, which are much more expensive.

Other treatments tested last year, such as hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, interferon, lopinavir, ritonavir and ivermectin were ruled out because they had little effect on patients. On the other hand, WHO is currently conducting medical trials of three other candidates: artesunate, imatinib and infliximab.

After the inclusion of the monoclonal antibodies, the organization asked in a statement the manufacturer and governments to make efforts to lower prices and increase their accessibility in all markets, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

A similar call was made by the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which demanded that Regeneron “take immediate steps to ensure that the drugs are accessible to all who need them, avoiding the monopolization of these new treatments”.

Monoclonal antibodies are artificial proteins that have also been used in treatments for some cancers, although MSF reports that the companies’ attempts to create similar versions of these products have often encountered regulatory barriers to possible patent infringement.

About Abhishek Pratap

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