Delhi’s Ganga Ram hospital begins monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy for Covid-19
Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on Tuesday started administering monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy, which is thought to prevent high risk patients from progressing to severe infection.
The therapy uses a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies -- laboratory-made proteins that mimic the body’s immune cells -- called casirivimab and imdevimab marketed by Roche. The monoclonal antibodies attach themselves to the spike protein of the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 and prevent the entry of the virus into the human cell.
The therapy is administered to those at high risk of developing severe infection before the disease progresses from mild or moderate category with no need for oxygen support. Those with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and are obese, or those who have chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic lung disease, or are immunocompromised because of cancer, HIV, or an organ transplant are considered to be at high risk of developing severe Covid-19.
India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation approved the therapy for all those who have tested positive for the viral infection, have mild to moderate disease (not on oxygen support), and 12 years or above, and weigh at least 40 kgs. The therapy was approved in early May when the cases of Covid-19 were soaring across the country; US Food and Drug Administration had approved the use of the therapy last year in November.
The monoclonal antibodies are given either intravenously or through a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. Once the injection is given, the person is kept under observation for four to five hours before being sent home.
“We have started offering the therapy from today; the patients who come to the hospital for Covid-19 treatment will be offered the option if they fit the criteria. If they agree, they will be given the injection,” said Ajoy Sehgal, public relations officer, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Dr DS Rana, chairman (board of management), Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, “As per the claims of the company, we hope that the therapy will be a major factor in fight against Covid-19 to prevent disease from progressing to further severity.”