New treatment could keep vulnerable patients out of hospital

New treatment could keep vulnerable patients out of hospital
© Marcelo Leal via Unsplash

A new treatment for vulnerable patients infected by Covid-19 to avoid the need for hospitalisation could be ready later in the year, according to the university of Leuven.

The treatment is the work of virologist, Professor Johan Neyts, and involves delivering antibodies via a drip, so that vulnerable patients such as elderly people do not have to be admitted to hospital.

It has already been shown that some people, even though fully vaccinated, can be infected with one of the new variants of the coronavirus.

Such was the case at a care home in Zaventem, where seven residents, all of them vaccinated, died of a new infection with the B.1.621 variant, first discovered in Colombia, which has not yet been attributed a Greek letter name.

"The good news is that a number of therapies are coming in the autumn that produce antibodies that can then be administered by infusion," Prof. Neyts said in Terzake. "Clinical studies show that if this happens within five days of the onset of the first symptoms of a coronavirus infection, you then have about an 80% reduction in hospital admission. It would be ideal to do this with frail people such as the elderly if there is an outbreak in a residential care home, which could have an impact on the further evolution of the condition."

Prof. Neyts is a supporter of the idea of giving only vulnerable patients, including the elderly and those with underlying conditions, a booster shot of the vaccine in the autumn to reinforce their protection in the presence of new variants which appear to be developing the ability to sidestep the vaccines.

However the World Health Organisation has asked nations to postpone any booster campaign to allow poorer countries access to available vaccines, where they lag seriously far behind.

"A number of other at-risk patients also deserve a booster shot, but that is not an issue for the rest of the population. We must ensure that in all corners of the world where so many people have not yet been vaccinated, people there receive all the vaccines we can provide,” he told the VRT.

If you give everyone in the west a booster, you're boosting the virus itself because there aren't enough vaccines to vaccinate people in developing countries."

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