EU Health Authorities: Effectiveness of Covid Vaccines is Reducing

Society » HEALTH | December 10, 2022, Saturday // 11:47
Bulgaria: EU Health Authorities: Effectiveness of Covid Vaccines is Reducing @Pixabay

The European Union's health regulator has expressed concern about the declining effectiveness of Covid-19 antibody therapies to treat patients as new variants of the virus challenge treatment approaches.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Food and Drug Administration have gone even further and withdrawn recommendations for some monoclonal antibodies on the grounds that Omicron and the latest branches of the variant may have rendered those options obsolete.

Monoclonal antibodies are designed to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus by binding to the spike protein on its surface, but the virus has evolved, causing changes in this protein that affect the way antibodies bind to it.

"Although it is not yet known to what extent the reduced neutralizing activity translates into reduced benefits for patients, healthcare professionals will need to consider alternative treatments, especially if subvariants such as BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 become widespread," the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said.

New branches of Omicron's dominant BA.5 subvariant, known as BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, are among the more than 300 Omicron variant subvariants in circulation worldwide, 95% of which are direct descendants of BA.5. according to the WHO.

EMA's emergency task force said antiviral alternatives such as Pfizer's Paxlovid and Gilead's Remdesivir could be considered, saying they were expected to retain activity against the new strains.

AstraZeneca's Evusheld, Celltrion's Regkirona, Roche's Ronapreve and GSK-Vir's Xevudy are monoclonal antibodies approved in the EU for Covid-19.

The EMA added that it would consider any necessary updates to the labels of individual therapies.

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Tags: European, vaccines, COVID-19
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