Covid-19: Monoclonal antibody therapy ‘fully prevents’ severe disease, death: AIG Hospitals Study
Monoclonal therapy reduces severe disease and death in high-risk individuals infected with the Delta Variant of Covid-19 by 100 per cent, according to findings of a study, conducted by Hydeabad-based AIG Hospitals along with the Asian Healthcare Foundation, CSIR – Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad and Institute of Life Sciences. Disclosing the finding of the study, which has been published in The Journal of Internal Medicine, D Nageshwar Reddy, Chairman, AIG Hospital told media here on Tuesday that the results are astonishing and would shape the public health policy for treatment of Covid-19 especially in high-risk individuals, those with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, pregnant woman, people with chronic diseases. “We have demonstrated in our research that when given at the right time, Monoclonal Therapy stops the progression of the disease completely,” he said. 285 high risk patients from Fever Clinic of AIG out of which 208 were administered monoclonal antibodies (a cocktail of two antibodies) treatment and others were given standard treatment with remdesivir. The results showed that more than 98 per cent samples tested were identified as the Delta Variant and 75 per cent patients underwent Monoclonal Therapy became RT-PCR Negative by seventh day. While 78 per cent patients got relieved of their clinical symptoms such as fever, cough by the seventh day, none of the participants developed severe disease or death. “There was no increase in inflammatory markers in these patients. On follow up, none of the patients reported any post-Covid symptom. After the study we have treated about 1,000 patients in the same method which showed similar results,” Reddy said.
The treatment can be given between 3 and 7 days after the patient becomes RT-PCR positive. “Only high-risk group patients should be treated with monoclonal antibodies but not every patient,” Reddy added. Currently, The effectiveness of this therapy in hospitalised patients who need supplemental oxygen is being studied. According to Reddy, the cost of monoclonal antibodies treatment will be much lower than the treatment with hospitalisation. “This costs ₹65,000 for a single shot injection and no hospitalisation is needed. I hope Indian pharma companies will produce monoclonal antibodies going forward which can bring the cost further down,” he said. As of now, monoclonal antibodies are being imported under the brand Regen Cov. Casirivimab and Imdevimab being manufactured by Roche and marketed in India by Cipla. While monoclonal therapy will also offer immediate protection from the pandemic for 2-3 weeks, it cannot be a substitute for Covid-19 vaccination. The Monoclonal Antibody drug cocktail gained global attention as a miracle cure for Covid-19 ever since it got administered on ex-US president Donald Trump but the initial scientific evidence was not enough. There were few studies that showed its effectiveness but no study across the world was done on the Delta variant of SARS CoV2. The study by AIG is the first published one globally in a peer reviewed, high impact journal.