Amid all the COVID gloom, and fear of infection despite taking vaccine jabs, here’s some good news. At Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), a monoclonal antibody cocktail was successfully used in two patients, who were showing fast progression of COVID-19 symptoms, within the first seven days.
A gamechanger in COVID treatment?
Dr Pooja Khosla, Senior Consultant, Department of Medicine, SGRH, told PTI that a 36-year-old healthcare worker with high-grade fever, cough, muscle pain, severe weakness and leucopenia (reduction in the number of white blood cells) was administered REGCov2 (Casirivimab and Imdevimab) on Tuesday, day 6 of the disease.
“Patients with these symptoms rapidly progress towards moderate to severe stage. In this case, high fever persisted for five days and total leukocytes count dropped to 2,600. After we gave him monoclonal antibody therapy, his parameters improved within eight hours. The patient has been discharged,” she said.
In the second case, a 80-year-old who suffers from diabetes and hypertension, had high-grade fever and cough. “A CT scan confirmed mild disease. He was given REGCov2 on day 5. The patient’s parameter improved within the next 12 hours,” the hospital said in a statement.
Dr Khosla said monoclonal antibody therapy could prove to be a game changer if used at appropriate time. It can avoid hospitalization in high-risk group and progression to severe disease. It can help escaping or reducing the usage of steroids and immunomodulation which would further reduce the risk of fatal infections like Mucormycosis, secondary bacterial and viral infections like CMV, she said.
Meanwhile, as reported by PTI, doctors at BLK-Max Hospital on Tuesday said that two COVID-positive senior citizens with heart complications “tested negative” for the disease a week after they were administered monoclonal antibody therapy. Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director, BLK-Max Centre for Chest and Respiratory Diseases, told the news agency that the two men were administered the antibody cocktail therapy within three days of obtaining their COVID reports. “This is the fastest ever recovery reported in patients, particularly senior citizens suffering from comorbidities,” he claimed. “In the light of this development, the monoclonal antibody cocktail can safely be termed a ‘game-changer’ in the fight against Covid,” Dr Nayar said.
The antibody cocktail treatment
Monoclonal antibodies are identical copies of an antibody that targets one specific antigen. This treatment has previously been used to treat infections such as Ebola and HIV. According to experts, the drug cocktail, a combination of Casirivimab and Imdevimab, is specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and blocks the virus from attaching to human cells and prevents replication. Studies say this “antibody cocktail treatment” for COVID-19 can prevent case escalation from mild to moderate illness to severe, which then requires hospitalisation in 70 per cent of the cases, according to doctors.
The therapy is most suited for “high-risk COVID-19 patients” who are within the first 10 days of the symptom onset and meet any of the listed criteria such as their age being 65 years or above.
The Donald Trump connection
The antibody cocktail was given to then US President Donald Trump when he contracted COVID last year.
– With Agency inputs