The United Kingdom has approved the use of a drug to treat people at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, which the manufacturers say appears to be effective against the new Omicron variant.
The antibody treatment, sotrovimab, “was found to be safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection who are at an increased risk of developing severe disease”, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in a statement on Thursday.
Following its review, the MHRA recommended sotrovimab, also known under the brand name Xevudy, be used as soon as possible and within five days of the onset of symptoms.
June Raine, the MHRA’s chief executive, welcomed its addition to the UK’s arsenal for battling the coronavirus pandemic as “yet another therapeutic that has been shown to be effective at protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19”.
Last month, the UK became the first country to approve molnupiravir, a potentially game-changing COVID-19 antiviral pill jointly developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.