UK regulator approves first monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19

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The UK’s health regulator has approved an antibody treatment developed by Regeneron and Roche to prevent and treat COVID-19, it said on Friday, adding it was trying to roll it out to patients soon.

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the drug Ronapreve could help prevent infection, help resolve symptoms of severe COVID-19 infection and reduce the chances of hospitalization.

“This treatment will be a significant addition to our armory to tackle COVID-19,” British health minister Sajid Javid said in a statement.

Ronapreve can be taken via injection or infusion. It binds tightly to the coronavirus at the lining of the respiratory system and prevents it from gaining access to cells of the respiratory system, the MHRA said.

Ronapreve belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies which mimic natural antibodies produced by the body to fight off infections. The drug is not intended to be used as a substitute for vaccination, the MHRA said.

Last month Japan became the first country to approve Ronapreve to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 infections.

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