COVID-19 treatment: Roche’s antibody cocktail explained; why it is approved in India

Last week, drug firm Roche India received approvals for the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) to be used in treatment of the Coronavirus infection.

The hospital successfully administered monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy to two of these Covid positive extremely high-risk senior citizen patients on Tuesday.

Last week, drug firm Roche India received approvals for the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) for the antibody cocktail to be used in treatment of the Coronavirus infection. The antibody cocktail can now be imported to India as well as be marketed and distributed via a strategic partnership with Cipla. It is to note that the approvals have come at a time when India is facing a tsunami of COVID-19 cases on an everyday basis. The idea is to help infected people get treatment before the conditions worsens and turns into high risk.

Former US President Donald Trump too took this treatment when he was infected with the virus. With a significant rise of COVID-19-infected patients in India, the health officials are now looking at administrating the antibody cocktail.

What is the antibody cocktail?

Two antibodies together- casirivimab and imdevimab have been considered in the making of this antibody cocktail. This is used for treatment of high-risk patients having mild-moderate COVID-19 impact. Roche has said that both of these neutralising antibodies have been designed in such a way that they can block the virus’s attachment as well as entry in human cells.

They have been made to counter the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and will reduce the risk of losing “neutralisation potency against new emerging variants.”

Who can take the antibody cocktail?

According to the company, adults having mild to moderate range of viral infections can take this treatment. Those who are above the age of 12 years can also be considered given they weigh more than 40 kgs. The antibody cocktail is expected to be administered among patients who are at a high risk of developing a severe form of COVID-19 infection. The company believes the treatment can help “significantly” in these patients before their infection worsens.

Among high-risk patients, those who are above the age of 60 years or have comorbid conditions like chronic lung or cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes are considered.

How is the antibody cocktail administered?

A combined dose of 1200 mg (600 mg of each drug) has been approved for administration. This can either be infused intravenously or via subcutaneous route. The antibody cocktail needs to be stored at 2°C to 8°C.

How effective is it?

The company, as per a report by The IE, has said that the large phase 3 global trial conducted among 4,567 high-risk Coronavirus patients who were not hospitalised, primary endpoint of the treatment was met. The results have shown significant reduction in the risk of hospitalisation. The company also claimed that risk of death has also been reduced by 70 per cent when compared to placebo treatment. Use of casirivimab and imdevimab were seen to shorten the duration of symptoms as well.

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