The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has approved the use of the monoclonal antibody sotrovimab, (brand name Xevudy), for the purpose of treating mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.
Clinical trials have shown that a single dose of sotrovimab can reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by up to 79% when given to a patient during the early stages of infection. Sotrovimab is administered intravenously over the course of 30 minutes and works by binding to the virus to prevent it from entering and attaching to human cells.
The drug had already been reviewed and approved by the Commission on Human Medicines. Its use is currently only authorised for people with a mild to moderate COVID infection who have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness.
The Chair of the Commission on Human Medicines, Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, stated:
“When administered in the early stages of infection, sotrovimab was found to be effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in high-risk individuals with symptomatic COVID-19. Based on the data reviewed by the Commission and its expert group, it is clear sotrovimab is another safe and effective treatment to help us in our fight against COVID-19.”
The drug is not intended to be used as a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19, which remains the most effective method of reducing risk of hospitalisation and death.
The news of sotrovimab’s approval comes exactly a year after the UK’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine, and coincides with a new government contract to secure 114 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for use over the next two years.