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A monoclonal antibody that reduces risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by up to 79%

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According to intermediate trial results from phase III ‘COMET-ICE’ published in the New England Journal of Medicine, treatment for COVID-19 with sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody from GSK and Vir Biotechnology, reduces the risk of hospitalization or death from any cause by up to 79 percent on Day 29, compared to placebo.

The study included 583 participants. Three trial participants who received sotrovimab and 21 study participants who received a placebo suffered illness progression that resulted in hospitalization or death, reflecting an 85 percent risk decrease in patients with COVID-19 who received the monoclonal antibody treatment.

Five participants were admitted to intensive care units and one participant died among the hospitalised patients, all of whom were in the placebo group.

These findings are part of an interim analysis of the COMET-ICE Experiment, a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial that enrolled individuals at 37 sites across four countries, including the COVID-19 Clinical Research Center (CCRC) at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The firms announced the study’s final findings in June 2021.

The scientists noted that sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody therapy that targets a highly conserved epitope of the virus, may be more successful at blocking variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Sotrovimab was found to be effective against Delta and all other circulating variants of concern in laboratory trials. Based on the science underlying the discovery of this antibody treatment, the authors expected that sotrovimab would stay effective even if the virus continued to evolve and generate new variants of concern.

Volunteers included in the study had to have a positive COVID-19 test, be within five days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, and have at least one risk factor for developing a more serious course of the disease to be included in the study.

Risk factors were defined as being 55 years of age or older or having at least one of the following health conditions: diabetes for which medication was warranted, obesity, chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or moderate to severe asthma.

“As long as people are getting COVID-19, there is a need for effective treatment to prevent serious illness and death,” said Dr. Adrienne Shapiro – the corresponding author of the study.

“Based on these efficacy results, we are excited for the potential of sotrovimab—which now has emergency use authorization from the FDA—to reduce hospitalizations and thus relieve the burden of hospital crowding, another serious consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Image Credit: iStock

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