Vulnerable hospital patients are to begin receiving a ‘ground-breaking’ drug from next week to fight coronavirus. The treatment is named Ronapreve, and will serve to aid patients unable to build up an antibody response against COVID-19. The MHRA gave approval for its use last month, and it uses a pair of laboratory-produced antibodies to attack the virus. The former US President Donald Trump famously received the treatment as part of the suite of experimental medicines given to him upon his COVID-19 infection in 2020.
Those over-50 without the necessary antibodies and patients aged 12-49 who are immune-compromised will be among those offered the treatment. Patients with certain cancers are an example of the type of patient to receive the drug. Antibody testing is to be used initially to determine that patients are seronegative (lacking the antibodies), in order to prove clinical eligibility.
The treatment continues to be effective against currently-known COVID-19 variants, and works to directly attack the virus, rather than other treatments such as steroids that calm the body’s overactive immune response.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that the life-saving treatment will be available as early as next week, and that the UK is “leading the world in identifying and rolling out life-saving medicines, particularly for COVID-19, and we will continue our vital work to find the best treatments available to save lives and protect the NHS”.