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Antibody cocktail to treat Covid-19 now in India. What is it? Who should take the therapy?


The antibody cocktail shot into the limelight after it was used to treat former United States President Donald Trump last year. The therapy is said to reduce the chance of hospitalisation by 70 per cent in patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms.


What is an antibody cocktail?


The therapy is literally a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that the body generates to defend itself against any disease. Monoclonal antibodies are artificially created in a laboratory and tailor-made to fight a particular disease.


Casirivimab and imdevimab, which are part of the antibody cocktail produced by Switzerland-based Roche, are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. They block the virus's attachment and subsequent entry into human cells. Using two antibodies protects against the body's resistance to them.


Who should take antibody cocktail?


The antibody cocktail is to be administered for treatment of patients with mild to moderate symptoms in adults and who are at high risk of developing severe Covid-19 disease.


The therapy is most suited for "high-risk Covid-19 patients" and must be administered within 48-72 hours of a patient testing positive for Covid-19, if not sooner, noted cardiologist and founder of Medanta Dr Naresh Trehan told India Today.


In paediatric patients, it is recommended to be given to those 12 years of age or older and weighing at least 40 kg. The therapy is not recommended in patients who are hospitalised due to severe Covid-19 and require oxygen therapy.


How is an antibody cocktail administered?


An antibody cocktail is administered intravenously or subcutaneously (under the skin) as an injection. If it is given subcutaneously, four spots in the body will be needed where these injections can be given. It takes about 20-30 minutes for a full dose of an antibody cocktail to be administered. The patient will then be monitored for one hour to check for any adverse reactions.


Which firms are selling this antibody cocktail in India and globally?


Regeneron and Roche's antibody cocktail received emergency-use authorisation in India on May 5 and is being distributed by drugmaker Cipla. The first batch of the drug became available in the country earlier this week.


The price for a dose of 1,200 mg (600 mg of Casirivimab and 600 mg of Imdevimab) is Rs 59,750. A multi-dose pack (each pack can treat two patients) has been priced at Rs 1,19,500. It has to be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius.


Presently, it is being administered at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram, Haryana. Delhi's Fortis Escorts Heart Institute will also start offering the therapy at the facility from Thursday, PTI reported.


Zydus Cadila has also sought approval for early-to late-stage human trials of its antibody cocktail candidate, ZRC-3308, to treat mild Covid-19 patients. The antibody cocktail reduced lung damage during animal trials and was found to be safe and well-tolerated, Zydus Cadila said.


Besides Regeneron, the US Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorisations to similar treatments developed by Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly.


What have studies shown?


In March this year, Roche announced results of its phase-III global trials in high-risk non-hospitalised Covid-19 patients. The results showed the antibody cocktail drug significantly reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 70% compared to placebo and shortened the duration of symptoms by four days.

Source - IndiaToday