The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved another COVID-19 treatment, Xevudy (sotrovimab), after it was found to be safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection who are at an increased risk of developing severe disease.
This is the second monoclonal antibody therapeutic to be approved following Ronapreve.
Developed by GSK and Vir Biotechnology, sotrovimab works by binding to the spike protein on the outside of the COVID-19 virus. This in turn prevents the virus from attaching to and entering human cells, so that it cannot replicate in the body.
In a clinical trial, a single dose of the monoclonal antibody was found to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by 79% in high-risk adults with symptomatic COVID-19 infection.
Based on the clinical trial data, sotrovimab is most effective when taken during the early stages of infection and so the MHRA recommends its use as soon as possible and within five days of symptom onset.
Like molnupiravir, it has been authorised for use in people who have mild to moderate COVID-19 infection and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. Such risk factors include obesity, older age (>55 years), diabetes mellitus, or heart disease.
Unlike molnupiravir, sotrovimab is administered by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes. It is approved for individuals aged 12 and above who weigh more than 40kg.
It is too early to know whether the omicron variant has any impact on sotrovimab’s effectiveness but the MHRA will work with the company to establish this.
Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive said: “I am pleased to say that we now have another safe and effective COVID-19 treatment, Xevudy (sotrovimab), for those at risk of developing severe illness.
“This is yet another therapeutic that has been shown to be effective at protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19, and signals another significant step forward in our fight against this devastating disease.
“With no compromises on quality, safety and effectiveness, the public can trust that the MHRA have conducted a robust and thorough assessment of all the available data.”