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Previous Monoclonal Antibody Treatment was Rendered Worthless by New Coronavirus Strains

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The U.S. no longer offers Coronavirus monoclonal antibody treatments: Bebtelovimab, a medication previously prescribed to patients at high risk of developing a serious illness, had its approval from the Food and Drug Administration revoked on Wednesday.

Six monoclonal antibody treatments for Coronavirus were approved by the FDA during the past two years, but when omicron’s numerous subvariants made the medications less effective, the FDA eventually canceled each of those authorizations. Eli Lilly’s Bebtelovimab was the last drug standing.

The medicine was “not predicted to neutralize Omicron subvariants such as BQ.1 and BQ.1.1,” which together are now responsible for the bulk of new infections reported in the United States, accounting for about 62% of cases, the FDA stated in its notice.

“The main issue is that monoclonal antibodies only attach to a little portion of the virus. We are now in a situation where we lost them all because they no longer bind to the virus as a result of the virus changing,” said the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Dr. Arturo Casadevall, a professor of medicine.

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Given that it continues to be successful in the face of new variants and is simple to administer (it consists of a series of 3 pills taken twice daily for 5 days), Paxlovid has emerged as the therapy of choice for the majority of individuals at high risk of extreme Covid. Bebtelovimab, on the other hand, required an hour-long IV infusion.

However, since Paxlovid can negatively interact several numbers with immunosuppressive treatments, doctors frequently advised the monoclonal antibody for those receiving specific immunosuppressive medications, such as transplant recipients or cancer patients.

At Texas University, Dr. Rodney Rohde- chair of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program stated, he is worried about how immunocompromised patients will manage with lesser treatment options.