Lab-produced antibodies ‘solution against Covid-19 for those with weaker immune systems’
Tuesday, 04 May 2021
Credit: Belga/Hatim Kaghat
The injection of antibodies produced in laboratories could help protect people with immunodeficiency from the coronavirus and should be authorised in Belgium, according to the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine (ARMB).
The group argued that vaccination alone is not sufficient protection for people of which the immune system’s ability to fight infectious diseases and cancer is compromised or entirely absent and that injecting monoclonal antibodies, which is not approved in Belgium, would help.
“In several European countries, monoclonal antibodies are already administered to patients,” Professor Jean-Michel Foidart, Permanent Secretary of the ARMB told Belga news agency.
“In our country, only a few patients have had the chance to benefit from them on a compassionate basis. We now need to make them available to all eligible patients,” he added.
Administering monoclonal antibodies, which are produced in a laboratory and can be injected to strengthen the patient’s immune system, after an injection of a coronavirus vaccine can mimic the body’s normal immune response, reducing the risk of a severe form of the disease developing.
According to the group, there are between 1,000 and 3,000 suffering from immunodeficiency, who are more likely to develop severe forms of the coronavirus and who could benefit from this treatment.
However, the treatment costs between €1,000 and € 2,000, and the Academy recommends that a list of priority patients be drawn up.
“In the event of infection, the vital prognosis of the most fragile patients depends on this treatment. It will also avoid long, painful, and costly hospitalisations,” said Professor Michel Goldman, immunologist and member of the ARMB.