WHO Recommends Antibody Treatment for Critical COVID Patients: What Do We Know?
The WHO panel recommended a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab for two specific groups of COVID-19 patients.
High-risk COVID-19 patients or those with a severe disease should be given a combination of two antibody treatments, according to recent World Health Organization guidelines published in The British Medical Journal earlier this month.
The WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel recommends the combination of casirivimab and imdevimab for the treatment of two specific groups of patients with COVID-19.
Here is all you need to know about it.
Which are the two groups recommended to get the antibody treatment?
Patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of hospitalisation
Severe or critical COVID-19 patients who are seronegative, that is, those who have not mounted their own antibody response to COVID-19
Was there a trial before the recommendations?
First recommendation is based on new evidence from three trials that have not yet been peer-reviewed. The trials had shown that casirivimab and imdevimab may reduce the risk of hospitalisation and duration of symptoms in patients at risk of a severe disease, such as unvaccinated, aged or immunosuppressed patients
Second recommendation is based on data from another trial which indicates that the combination of two antibodies probably reduce deaths and the need for mechanical ventilation in seronegative patients
How do the two antibodies work?
Casirivimab and imdevimab are monoclonal antibodies. When used together, they bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, neutralising the virus' ability to infect cells.
The spike protein helps the virus to bind and infect the human cells.
Will the antibody treatment be helpful to other COVID-19 patients?
For other COVID-19 patients, any benefits of this antibody treatment are not likely to be useful, as per the panel report.
Are there any cons of this?
Several cost and resource implications, which may make access to low and middle income countries challenging, as noted by the panel
With emergence of new variants, antibodies may have reduced effect
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