Vulnerable Covid patients to get ready-to-use antibodies

Vulnerable Covid patients to get ready-to-use antibodies
People get vaccinated against Covid-19 at the Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center in Bangkok last month. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
People get vaccinated against Covid-19 at the Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center in Bangkok last month. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The Public Health Ministry plans to treat Covid-19 patients at risk of complications with long-acting antibodies (LAAB), according to the Department of Disease Control.

LAAB are now administered as pre-infection protection.

Dr Sophon Iamsirithaworn, deputy director-general of the department, said on Wednesday that studies showed that LAAB made by Evusheld `could be used to effectively treat Covid-19 patients. Japan and Europe have already approved their use for vulnerable Covid-19 patients.

He said that Thailand would follow suit, in addition to using it to protect vulnerable groups of people who had not contracted Covid-19.

Lancet Respiratory Medicine published findings from the Phase 3 TACKLE trial project with 910 Covid-19 outpatients with mild and moderate symptoms at 95 hospitals in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The trial project showed that the use of Evusheld LAAB can reduce the incidence of severe illness and death by 50% when administered within seven days after symptoms first appear. The reduction will be 67% and 88% for administration within five and three days respectively after symptoms arise, Dr Sophon said.

A study of 1,417 inpatients whose had shown symptoms for no longer than 12 days at 81 hospitals in the US, Europe, Uganda and Singapore found that Evusheld cut the fatality rate by 30%.

“This shows the effectiveness of Evusheld’s ready-to-use antibodies in the treatment of Covid-19 patients,” Dr Sophon said.

On Aug 30 Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare approved the use of Evusheld to treat Covid-19 patients aged 12 years and over who were at risk of developing severe symptoms. On Tuesday the European Medicines Agency agreed to use Evusheld for newly-infected Covid-19 patients at high risk, he said.

According to Dr Sophon, the Public Health Ministry procured Evusheld’s LAAB for people with low antibodies and those who cannot develop antibodies after vaccination. LAAB is used to protect people before they are exposed to Covid-19.

“More than 3,400 people have been injected with LAAB. It can tackle the original strain and many variants of the Covid-19 virus,” he said.

The inoculation initially targets those dependent on dialysis and patients who have undergone organ and bone marrow transplantation.

The protection with LAAB will expand to other groups of people, including cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy, patients with low antibodies and patients who have immunosuppressants after receiving transplants and joint treatment, Dr Sophon said.