EU greenlights new Covid treatments
The European Medicines Agency has approved two new Covid-19 treatments: an antibody medication and an arthritis drug that turned out to be able to “reduce” the inflammation associated with the virus.
The first drug, Xevudy, produced by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology was recommended for treating the virus in adults and adolescents older than 12 who weigh at least 40 kilograms and ”who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of the disease becoming severe.”
Xevudy is the third monoclonal antibody treatment approved for use in the EU after Regkirona and Ronapreve.
The second drug, Kineret, is produced by Swedish company Sobi and is an immunosuppressive medicine currently used for treatment of inflammatory conditions.
“In Covid-19 patients, the medicine is considered to reduce the inflammation associated with [the virus] and thus decrease lower airway damage, preventing development of severe respiratory failure,” the EMA said.
It is recommended for adult Covid patients with pneumonia who require supplemental oxygen and “who are at risk of developing severe respiratory failure.”
The regulator has so far approved six Covid-19 treatments, including the newest additions to the list. It is also currently considering the approval of several other treatments in its bid to lessen the impact of the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Those under consideration include Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio.
On Thursday, the head of the UK's antiviral taskforce said he expected both of these drugs to be available for use there over the winter period.
According to the European Commission, the Omicron variant will become dominant in the EU by mid-January.