GSK says antibody drug works against variant – .

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GSK says antibody drug works against variant – .


Laboratory analysis of the antibody-based COVID-19 therapy GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is developing with its US partner Vir has indicated that the drug is effective against the new variant Omicron, the UK drug maker said Thursday.

A GSK statement said lab tests and a study in hamsters showed the sotrovimab antibody cocktail to work against viruses bio-designed to carry a number of mutations characteristic of the Omicron variant.

Testing is continuing to confirm results against all Omicron mutations, with an update expected by the end of the year, he added.

The antibody is designed to attach to the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus, but Omicron has been found to have an unusually high amount of mutations on this protein.

“Sotrovimab was purposefully designed with a mutant virus in mind,” said Vir chief executive George Scangos, adding that the drug targeted a region of the spike protein that was very unlikely to mutate.

Separately, the UK medicines regulator on Thursday approved sotrovimab, also known by the brand name Xevudy, for people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing serious illness.

The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has recommended the use of Xevudy as soon as possible and within five days of symptom onset.

Sotrovimab is based on monoclonal antibodies, which are laboratory-made versions of the natural antibodies the body generates to fight infection. Similar products are offered or developed by Eli Lilly, Regeneron and AstraZeneca.

Regeneron said on Tuesday that lab tests and computer modeling suggest drugs based on COVID-19 antibodies, including those from Regeneron, have reduced efficacy against the Omicron variant.

(Report by Ludwig Burger edited by David Goodman)

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