News"Shows no effect on omicron" - WHO backtracks on...

"Shows no effect on omicron" – WHO backtracks on antibody cocktail

Corona drugs are considered a beacon of hope in the fight against the pandemic. Antibody therapy has now proven to be ineffective against the omicron variant.

Geneva – There are now remedies against Covid-19. Antibody therapies for corona infected people were considered particularly promising. However, Omikron turns things upside down. According to new studies, an antibody cocktail recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) does not help in corona patients who are infected with the omicron variant. This is the drug from the pharmaceutical company Regeneron with the two antibodies Casirivimab and Imdevimab – a so-called antibody cocktail.

Antibody cocktail ineffective at Omicron

“It looks like this antibody cocktail shows a lack of efficacy against omicrons,” said Janet Diaz, WHO expert on the treatment of Covid-19, in Geneva on Friday. The WHO guidelines on use would be adjusted accordingly in the course of February.

In Germany, a specialist group at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) continuously evaluates drug therapies. Expert knowledge is intended to provide a practical overview of possible therapeutics (“from clinicians for clinicians”), as can be read in an evaluation. Experts from various disciplines are represented. In an evaluation of January 6, 2022, the specialist group classified the antibody cocktail at Omikron as “not effective”.

The WHO had recommended the preparations casirivimab and imdevimab for two patient categories: those who are infected and not yet seriously ill, but have a high risk of having to go to the hospital – such as the elderly, those who have previously been ill and those who have not been vaccinated. The preparations for seriously ill Covid-19 patients who have not developed antibodies against the coronavirus were also recommended.

Effective Covid-19 drugs according to the WHO: baricitinib and sotrovimab

Two other drugs that the WHO only recommended in January for the treatment of Covid 19 patients are still effective according to current knowledge, said Diaz. These are the active ingredient baricitinib, which was originally developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and sotrovimab. Sotrovimab – trade name Xevudy – is a monoclonal antibody that works well against omicron. The demand is therefore high. The federal government has ordered over 50,000 cans from manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

  • Active substance baricitinib – originally used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sotrovimab – monoclonal antibodies GlaxoSmithKline

The WHO advised against the use of two other drugs, ruxolitinib and tofacitinib. Small studies have so far shown no benefit, and serious side effects could develop with tofacitinib, the WHO said in January.

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