Meet the mAbs: the new treatments for vulnerable patients with COVID-19 (audio)

We take a closer look at monoclonal antibodies following news that pharmacists are likely to be involved in a new NHS service to deliver these treatments to patients with COVID-19 in the community.

In the midst of a largely successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the UK, there are still just a handful of treatments for people hospitalised with COVID-19 and even fewer for those in the early stages of disease. This is where monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) could play an important role.

There have been some promising trial results recently regarding the efficacy of mAbs in patients with COVID-19, both as monotherapy and in “cocktails”.

In this podcast, features editor Dawn Connelly and clinical and science editor Julia Robinson investigate the science behind these exciting new treatments and the potential role of pharmacists in preparing, supplying and assessing patients for their use.

Robinson also visits senior pharmacist James Cheung at the aseptics lab at King’s College Hospital in London to find out how mAbs are made.

Connelly and Robinson are also joined by PJ deputy news editor Carolyn Wickware to discuss her recent exclusive stories on the NHS plans to put in place a community-based mAbs service.

With thanks to associate professor Al Edwards from the University of Reading School of Pharmacy for his help in preparing this podcast.

This episode was produced by Geoff Marsh.

The COVID-19 mAbs mentioned in this podcast include:

  • Casivirimab + imdevimab cocktail (REGEN-COV, Regeneron) — results from a phase III trial suggested that it reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death by 70% and reduced recovery time by four days;
  • Bamlamivimab + etesevimab cocktail (Eli Lilly) — results from the BLAZE-I trial suggest that a high dose reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 70% and a low dose reduced the risk by 87%;
  • Sotrovimab monotherapy (VIR and GSK) — results from the COMET-ICE trial suggested that sotrovimab reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 85%.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 therapy trials

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Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2021, Vol 307, No 7951;307(7951)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.98532