The fight against coronavirus has taken another huge stride today, as the UK’s medicine regulator finally approved the use of the first drug that was specifically designed for the virus. This treatment uses artificial antibodies to both prevent and treat infection, and authorities are thrilled to be able to add it to their arsenal against COVID.
The drug is a mix of two antibodies, known as REGN10933 and REGN1087, which protects the human cells from infection and also stops the spread of the virus upon infection. Professor Penny Ward, an independent pharmaceutical physician, explained:
Ronapreve is a combination of two antibodies which together prevent the virus from attaching to human cells and causing infection, and also prevent further spread of infection in the body once a person has been infected.
The MHRA stated that the drug will be administered by injection or infusion, and it ‘acts at the lining of the respiratory system where it binds tightly to the coronavirus, preventing it from accessing cells in the respiratory system.’
Clinical trials on the drug have been taking place even before new variants were showing up, but the findings have given authorities reason to believe that it could be crucial in the prevention and treatment of COVID cases. Health Secretary, Sajid Javid said:
This is fantastic news from the independent medicines regulator and means the UK has approved its first therapeutic designed specifically for COVID-19.
This treatment will be a significant addition to our armoury to tackle COVID-19 – in addition to our world-renowned vaccination programme and life-saving therapeutics dexamethasone and tocilizumab.
We are now working at pace with the NHS and expert clinicians to ensure this treatment can be rolled out to NHS patients as soon as possible.
Ronapreve is also known as REGEN-COV in the United States and it was given emergency approval last year after Trump hailed it as a COVID cure.