US approves Covid-19 antibody treatment - RTHK
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US approves Covid-19 antibody treatment

2020-11-22 HKT 12:19
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  • Regeneron's antibody treatment is the second to win authorisation from US authorities. File photo: Reuters
    Regeneron's antibody treatment is the second to win authorisation from US authorities. File photo: Reuters
A Covid-19 antibody therapy used to treat US President Donald Trump was approved by the US drug regulator on Saturday for coronavirus patients who haven't yet been admitted to hospital but are at high risk.

The green light for drugmaker Regeneron came after REGEN-COV2, a combination of two lab-made antibodies, was shown to reduce Covid-19-related hospital admissions or accident and emergency visits in patients with underlying conditions.

"Authorising these monoclonal antibody therapies may help outpatients avoid hospitalisation and alleviate the burden on our health care system," said Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron's president and CEO, added the move was "an important step in the fight against Covid-19, as high-risk patients in the United States will have access to a promising therapy early in the course of their infection."

Regeneron's antibody treatment is the second synthetic antibody treatment to receive an emergency use approval (EUA) from the FDA after a similar therapy developed by Eli Lilly was granted the status on November 9.

The human immune system naturally develops infection-fighting proteins called antibodies – but because not everyone mounts an adequate response, companies like Regeneron and Lilly have manufactured lab-made solutions.

They work by binding to a surface protein of the Sards-CoV-2 virus and stopping it from invading human cells. (AFP)