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The antibody treatment cocktail that can help Sri Lanka combat Covid-19 in high-risk patients

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REGN-COV2, an antibody drug cocktail for the treatment of coronavirus patients by pharmaceutical giant Roche, has received Emergency Use Authorization and approval in the US, Europe, Switzerland, India and Japan. This antibody treatment was successfully administered to former US President Donald Trump after he contracted Covid-19 in October last year. The drug cocktail is projected to reduce Covid-19 hospitalizations by 70%.

REGN-COV2 is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, Casirivimab and Imdevimab, and is used for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in high-risk patients. Monoclonal antibodies are two laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as a virus. Antibodies Casirivimab and Imdevimab were specifically designed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, directed to block the virus’s attachment and entry into the human cells.

“Latest clinical trials results show the important medical benefit casirivimab and imdevimab (Roche antibody cocktail) may provide to people with Covid-19 by significantly reducing their risk of hospitalization and death. This is very important for us to manage our patients as well”, said Dr. Chintaka De Silva, Senior Consultant Physician, Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital.

Due to the distinct engineering of the two neutralising antibodies, the REGN-COV2 remains effective against widest spread variants and reduces the risk of losing its neutralising potency against any new emerging coronavirus variants.

The two-drug cocktail is to be administered for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults and paediatric patients (12 or older) who are at high risk of developing severe disease. High risk patients include those over 60 or those who are immunosuppressed, undergoing cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplant or having multiple illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, chronic lung or kidney disease, diabetes etc.

Roche’s phase III global trial using over 4,500 high-risk, non-hospitalised Covid-19 patients, met its primary target, showing that its approved combined dose of 1200 mg (600 mg of each drug) significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 70% and also shortened the duration of symptoms within one week. Further results showed that the cocktail reduced risk of symptomatic coronavirus infections by 81% and reduced asymptomatic patients progressing to symptomatic Covid-19 by 31%.

Former US President Donald Trump was given a higher dose of REGN-COV2 in its experimental stages back in October 2020 when he contracted the virus and was reported to have completed the infusion successfully without incident.

The cocktail has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in several countries. USA was the first to grant approval to this drug in November 2020, where the antibody cocktail was authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an EUA. This was followed by the scientific opinion of the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in February 2021 that confirmed REGN-COV2 as a treatment option for patients with confirmed Covid-19 who do not require oxygen supplementation and who are at high risk of progressing to severe Covid-19. Switzerland also received the go-ahead by Swissmedic for distribution of the two-drug cocktail in April 2021.

India, the second worst affected country in the world, announced in early May that the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) has provided an EUA for Roche’s antibody cocktail in India and that the drug will be made available through leading hospitals and Covid treatment centres to curb the country’s rising and staggering numbers of coronavirus positive cases and deaths. Japan also confirmed that it has concluded agreements with Roche for the purchase of doses of the antibody cocktail, pending approval by health ministry, as a new effective addition to Japan’s Covid-19 treatment plan.

Experts believe that monoclonal antibodies would prove to be a game changer in the treatment of Covid-19 in the coming days and opines that the antibody cocktail drug is an excellent combination drug to check severe manifestations of the disease and the administration of it would only complement the ongoing vaccination drives in the country.

 

 



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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