Its Antibody Drug Works Against Omicron Variant, GSK Says

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said on Thursday that laboratory testing of the antibody-based Covid-19 treatment that it is developing in partnership with the United States based from Vir has shown that the medicine is effective against the Omicron variant of the novel coroanvirus.

According to a statement made public by GSK, lab testing and a hamster research have shown that the sotrovimab antibody cocktail worked well against viruses that had been bio-engineered to possess a variety of signature mutations of the Omicron variant.

The tests are still being run to corroborate the results against all of the Omicron mutations, with an update potentially available by the end of the year, the company said in the statement.

The antibody is meant to bind to the spike protein on the coronavirus’s surface, but Omicron contains a disproportionately large number of mutations on that protein.

“Sotrovimab was deliberately designed with a mutating virus in mind,” said Vir Chief Executive George Scangos.

The medicine was designed to target a portion of the spike protein that was unlikely to change or mutate, he added.

Separately, the British Medicines Agency authorised sotrovimab, commonly known as Xevudy, for persons with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing severe illness, on Thursday.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advised using Xevudy as soon as possible after the beginning of symptoms, preferably within five days.

Sotrovimab is based on monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-made copies of the natural antibodies produced by the body to combat infection. Eli Lilly, Regeneron, and AstraZeneca all have similar drugs on the market or in development.

Lab experiments and computer modelling, according to Regeneron, show that Covid-19 antibody medicines, including Regeneron’s, would have lower efficacy against the Omicron version.

(Adapted from DeccanHerald.com)

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