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The miraculous antibody treatment cocktail that can help Sri Lanka combat COVID-19



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 70pct.

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.

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 hospitalisation or death by 70pct 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 authorised 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 nations 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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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained



Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.


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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini



A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests


By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 



Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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