Regeneron: Antibody 'cocktail' given to Donald Trump could be used by NHS

16 June 2021, 09:57

The NHS is to offer patients radical antibody treatments which could prevent the worst effects of Covid
The NHS is to offer patients radical antibody treatments which could prevent the worst effects of Covid. Picture: PA/Getty
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Severely ill coronavirus patients could be offered the same antibody 'cocktail' given to former US President Donald Trump after a UK trial found it can save lives.

Researchers on the Recovery trial found that a drug combination developed by pharmaceutical giant Regeneron reduced the overall risk of death when given to patients who had not begun a natural antibody response of their own.

The chances of Covid-19 patients with severe disease needing to be put on a ventilator were also reduced, as was the duration of their hospital stay.

READ MORE: Long Covid clinics for children offered by NHS England

READ MORE: Covid jabs 'to be made compulsory' for care home staff in England

Almost 10,000 UK patients admitted to hospital with the disease were randomly allocated to receive the antibody combination treatment in addition to usual hospital care - or were given usual care alone - between September 2020 and May this year.

According to the study, the chance of death within 28 days in people who had no antibody response was reduced by a fifth after they received the treatment.

The Recovery trial found the Regeneron antibody mix could save a significant number of people
The Recovery trial found the Regeneron antibody mix could save a significant number of people. Picture: PA Images

Estimates suggest for every 100 such patients treated with the antibody combination, there would be six fewer deaths.

Researchers also found the death rate was twice as high in those without an antibody response (30%) who received usual care alone, compared with those who were seropositive (15%) at the start of the study.

Sir Martin Landray, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and joint chief investigator, said: "What we found was amongst these patients who were seronegative - they hadn't raised antibodies of their own, if you then gave them this combination of two antibodies in an intravenous infusion, then mortality was reduced by one fifth.

READ MORE: Delta variant lacks 'classic' symptoms and may feel more 'like a bad cold'

"So instead of 30% dying, 24% died. So if you think of it differently, for every 100 patients who were given the intravenous infusion, we would save six lives."

He added: "Take a group of people, they're sick, they go into hospital, they've got Covid, they haven't got antibodies of their own, (this) will reduce their chance of dying, shorten their hospital stay, and reduce the chances of needing a ventilator."

Of those who took part, about one third were seronegative, meaning they had no natural antibody response of their own, and half were seropositive, meaning they had already developed natural antibodies against the virus.

For one in six participants, their serostatus was unknown.

NHS patients would need to be tested for antibodies before treatment, researchers say
NHS patients would need to be tested for antibodies before treatment, researchers say. Picture: PA Images

For the seronegative patients given the treatment, the duration of hospital stay was four days shorter than the usual care group, and the proportion of patients discharged alive by day 28 was greater - 64% compared to 58%.

But the treatment made no difference in patients who had mounted their own antibody response by the time the study started, researchers found.

Sir Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the University of Oxford, and joint chief investigator for the Recovery trial, said: "These results are very exciting. The hope was that by giving a combination of antibodies targeting the Sars-CoV-2 virus we would be able to reduce the worst manifestations of Covid-19.

"There was, however, great uncertainty about the value of antiviral therapies in late-stage Covid-19 disease.

"It is wonderful to learn that even in advanced Covid-19 disease, targeting the virus can reduce mortality in patients who have failed to mount an antibody response of their own."

Researchers say they are not sure when the treatment will be approved for use in the UK and highlight it will not be a quick rollout as with other treatments due to the low availability of the drug.

Patients would also need antibody testing on their admission to hospital - not currently in place - as part of the treatment.

Responding to the results, Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: "These encouraging results from this trial carried out in and by the NHS suggest a new treatment option to help save the lives of some patients hospitalised with Covid and are the latest example of research and innovation for patients, which the NHS has played a role in during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Over 18s in England expected to be invited for jab by end of week

"Studies have also suggested the same treatments might help similar patients in the community avoid going to hospital in the first place, which is why yesterday the health service chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, asked the NHS to rapidly establish a new monoclonal antibody service so we are ready to offer these drugs if backed by regulators."

The treatment uses a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (casirivimab and imdevimab, known as REGEN-COV in the US) that bind specifically to two different sites on the coronavirus spike protein, neutralising the ability of the virus to infect cells.

Previous studies showed the treatment reduced viral load, shortened the time to resolution of symptoms, and significantly reduced the risk of being admitted to hospital or death.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Rishi Sunak criticised Labour's proposed plans to tackle migration rates in the UK.

UK would be ‘illegal migration capital of world’ under Labour, Sunak says as he sets out plans to ‘stop the boats’

Labour has made cutting knife crime a 'moral mission' should the party come to power

Labour makes cutting knife crime a 'moral mission' as Starmer proposes new child criminal exploitation offence

Spanish police are investigating if Jay's 'background' is relevant to the disappearance.

Spanish police searching for Jay Slater investigate if teenager’s background is ‘relevant’ to his disappearance

Lord Kinnock has said he would not wish being part of the current Tory government on his 'most bloodthirsty enemies'.

‘I wish I was fighting this lot’, ex-Labour leader Lord Kinnock says as he brands current Tory party 'superficial and hollow'

The president of Finland has said he 'doesn't agree with many things' Nigel Farage says in response to his comments on the war in Ukraine.

'Absolutely not': Finland's president dismisses Nigel Farage’s claim that Nato provoked Russia's war in Ukraine

A man went missing in the water off Bournemouth beach (file image)

Huge search operation launched for man missing in water off Bournemouth beach

Bosses face £1,000 fine for letting employees watch England's Euros clash with Denmark in the office

Offices showing England v Slovenia Euros clash could face hefty £1,000 fine

Princess Anne has been injured by a horse

King Charles sends 'fondest love’ to Princess Anne who will ‘quickly bounce back’ after being hit by horse

Callum the stag was "humanely euthanised".

Tourists blamed for death of 'legendary' stag after it was fed Rice Krispies and croissants

The Reform UK leader's comments came as he spoke to supporters at a rally in Kent on Tuesday, slamming the current government's ability to control immigration.

Farage warns of Channel migrant 'invasion' from countries 'with terrorism, gang culture and war zones'

Gavin Plumb is accused of plotting to kidnap Holly Willoughby

Obsessed security guard ‘plotted to keep Holly Willoughby in dungeon where screams couldn't be heard for miles'

At least two people have died in the fire

At least two dead as Moscow defence research centre bursts into flames ‘with staff trapped inside’

Parisians along River Seine, below Cathedral Notre Dame celebrate Fête de la Musique - annual city-wide music festival each June

British woman 'gang-raped in Paris at music festival'

Florida rapper Julio Foolio has been shot dead

Florida rapper Julio Foolio shot dead during his birthday in Florida

Meg Bellamy played Kate Middleton in The Crown

The Crown star Meg Bellamy reveals trolls branded her 'too fat' to play Kate in the show

Jay Slater's father has urged people to come forward if they have any information on his son's disappearance

'Someone must know something': Jay Slater's father speaks out as search for missing son stretches into second week