Antibody therapy, even you… Omicron’s low-efficiency vacuum could last for months


The AP reported on the 19th (local time) that antibody treatments such as Regeneron and Lilly, which were used to respond to COVID-19, were found to be significantly less effective against Omicron, a new mutated virus.

The antibody treatment of British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is known to show some efficacy for Omicron, but the supply is in short supply.

There is growing concern that a ‘therapeutic vacuum’ could arise until new antibody therapeutics become widely available.

According to the AP, US biotech companies Regeneron and Eli Lilly recently announced their own research results showing that the efficacy of their antibody therapy against omicron mutations is inferior to that of existing mutants.

Antibody therapy is a method of injecting artificially created antibody proteins into the body.

For this treatment to be effective, the artificial antibody must bind to the virus’s spike protein and neutralize its ability to penetrate the body.

However, there are dozens of mutations in the spike protein of the omicron mutation, making it difficult for the antibody to exert itself.

Pharmaceutical companies immediately started developing a new antibody treatment for Omicron, but it is expected that it will take several months or more before a product is made.

In the midst of this, the AP reported that GSK and US pharmaceutical company Vir Biotechnology’s antibody treatment ‘sotrovirumab’ is attracting attention in the US as a means to counter the omicron mutation.

The company explains that GSK’s antibody therapy is a method that intensively attacks parts of the virus that are less likely to be mutated.

Early studies also showed positive results for Omicron, the company said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 95% of daily confirmed cases in the United States are a delta mutation.

However, given that omicron mutations are spreading so rapidly, there is little theory that they will soon become the leading strains of infection across the United States.

In a situation where there is an urgent need to respond to Omicron mutations, the US federal government is supplying GSK’s antibody therapeutics to each state, even in small amounts.

A total of 55,000 doses (one dose) will be delivered to health authorities in each state by the 21st.

Authorities are advising medical staff to conserve medicines for patients suspected of having the highest risk of omicron mutation infection as supplies are limited.

Additional shipments are expected to be available until January next year.

The expected shipment volume for January is about 300,000 doses.

GSK aims to produce 2 million doses by May next year, and is also in the process of expanding production facilities.

Interest in ‘pill treatment’ is growing as antibody therapeutics are virtually excluded from Omicron’s treatment options.

Pfizer, Merck and others explain that the pills developed by them significantly reduce the risk of severe progression or death in COVID-19 patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering an item approval for the pill treatment from these pharmaceutical companies.

(Photo=AP, Yonhap News)

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