If the vaccination campaign is playing an essential role in the global action to combat Covid-19, second generation monoclonal antibodies are increasingly relevant which can offer a significant contribution in the treatment of the disease as it occurs. In recent days, the European Commission has announced the first portfolio of five drugs that may soon be available for the treatment of patients with Covid-19 in Europe. It consists of four monoclonal antibodies and one immunosuppressant.
“Vaccines are a very important part but only part of the solution,” he notes Massimiliano Di Domenico, responsible for Europe communication, institutional relations and access to drugs at GSK, a company engaged in the development of one of the monoclonal antibodies indicated by the European Commission: sotrovimab. “It is important – he adds – to try to make all possible weapons available to fight this pandemic. And there are additional tools that are giving extremely encouraging results. In particular, let’s call them second generation monoclonal antibodies, which are not only showing a very important efficacy, but also, in some cases, to have excellent resistance even for all the variations of the virus that today are starting to appear in some parts of the world “.
“The European Commission – continues Di Domenico – has formalized its intention to use five new drugs of particular importance to contribute to the management of this pandemic and to support what has been done so far thanks to vaccines. Among these there is also the antibody monoclonal developed by Gsk in collaboration with Vir Biotechnology which is particularly effective. All the studies conducted have shown an efficacy equal to 85% reduction in hospitalization and risk of death for all those who have used this monoclonal antibody “. Studies that are also finding evidence in areas where the drug is already used: “It is news these days – says Di Domenico – that in Abu Dhabi, where this monoclonal antibody is already used, 97.3% of patients have had a substantial improvement within 7 days of use. ”
And in this important game there is also a bit of ‘made in Italy’: “Sotrovimab is produced in Italy – explains Di Domenico – on a GSK site located in Parma and which is a real center of excellence worldwide. And it will be exported from Parma all over the world “.
But when will the new drugs be available? After the approval of the EMA and FDA in recent weeks for use in emergency use, with the ruling of the European Commission the possibility of having these new weapons against the virus becomes increasingly concrete. “Now that the European Union has formally pronounced itself against sotrovimab – observes Di Domenico – Member States can move directly by approving emergency use locally and then proceeding to purchase the monoclonal antibody and make it available in your country. Or they can follow the European Commission and join the process called joint procurement agreement, thanks to which the Commission negotiates on behalf of all the Member States that want to be part of the agreement “.
“In any case – concludes Di Domenico – priority should be given by timing. I think it is of fundamental importance that all Member States in Europe and, as an Italian, I take the liberty of saying that Italy in particular, move as soon as possible. One of the very important learnings of this pandemic is the importance of planning, to ensure that we do not find ourselves having to manage situations in full crisis in the future “.