The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now recommended a third treatment against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
WHO recommended the synthetic antibody treatment, Regeneron, on Friday, but only for patients with a specific health profile.
According to a finding by WHO experts published in the BMJ medical journal, the treatment is recommended for people at high risk of hospitalization, such as elderly persons or patients whose immune system is severely compromised, for example because of cancer or an organ transplant.
The treatment is also recommended for people with severe or critical COVID who are seronegative, meaning they have not been able to create their own antibody response to the virus even after being infected, according to the WHO experts.
For all other types of patients, the benefits to be derived from this antibody treatment are unlikely to be significant, the BMJ wrote in a statement.
In another press statement, WHO noted that, given the high cost of the treatment and the fact that it is not readily available, the international drug-purchasing agency UNITAID is negotiating with Roche Laboratory to obtain lower prices and equitable distribution across the world’s regions, particularly for low- and middle-income countries.
WHO has also asked the laboratory to transfer its technology to enable the manufacture of equivalent versions of the treatment, so that patients who need it can have access to it.
Designed by the Regeneron biotechnology company and marketed by Roche Laboratory under the name Ronapreve, the treatment is a combination of two lab-manufactured monoclonal antibodies, Casirivimab and Imdevimab. Administered intravenously, they are thought to bolster the immune system and neutralise the novel Coronavirus.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump received the treatment when he caught the virus in September/October 2020.
In recent months, NGOs have denounced the high price of Ronapreve, which they assessed at about 2,000 U.S. dollars (1,700 euros) per dose.
This is only the third treatment against COVID-19 recommended by WHO.
The Brussels Times