'A new weapon': Dr Naresh Trehan on Covid-19 antibody cocktail

Published on May 26, 2021 05:12 PM IST

The cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab came into limelight after it was administered to former US President Donald Trump when he tested positive for Covid-19 last year.

The cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab has been developed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche.(AFP File Photo)
The cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab has been developed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche.(AFP File Photo)
By | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The antibody cocktail, which was approved by India's drug regulator earlier this month, is working against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), one of the top doctors in the country Dr Naresh Trehan said on Wednesday. He also said that the combination of casirivimab and imdevimab is effective against the B.1.617 variant, first found in India.

"When casirivimab and imdevimab are injected into infected patient in early stage, it blocks virus from entering cells of patient. It is working against Covid-19 and also effective against B.1.617. This is a new weapon," Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman of Medanta Hospitals, was quoted as saying by new agency ANI.

An 84-year-old man from Haryana became the first person in India to be administered the Covid drug cocktail developed by pharmaceutical giant Roche. Mohabbat Singh, who was under treatment for the last five days Medanta Hospital in Gurugram, was on Tuesday given the drug over a 30-minute intravenous supply.

"The man with multiple comorbidities got injected yesterday and he went home. We're going to follow him. Virus multiplication drops especially in those people who have high virus load and also in those who are at high risk of severe infection," said Dr Trehan.

"It has been used extensively in USA and Europe. The experience shows that when the it is given in first seven days of infection, 70-80% of people who're going to be entering hospitals for treatment will not need hospitalisation," he added.

The Roche cocktail came into limelight after it was administered to former US President Donald Trump when he tested positive for the virus last year.

Casirivimab and imdevimab are monoclonal antibodies that are specifically directed against the spike protein of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and are designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells.

The company announced on Monday that it is now available in India, adding that the cost per patient dose will be 59,750. Each of the 100,000 packs to be available in India offers treatment for two patients.

It is to be administered for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 in adults and paediatric patients (12 years of age or older, weighing at least 40 kg) who are confirmed to be infected with Sars-CoV-2 and who are at high risk of developing severe disease, and do not require oxygen.

The FDA-approved therapy demonstrated good efficacy in Phase 1/2 and Phase 3 studies by reducing Covid-19 related hospitalisation and death by 70 per cent.

Dr Trehan, however, said that patients are advised to check with their doctor if monoclonal antibody therapy may be beneficial to them in the treatment of their Covid-19 infection.

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