Explained: Will Monoclonal antibody therapy or 'Trump cocktail' in treating Covid-19 be a game changer?
New Delhi, June 12: With the coronavirus cases receding in the country, Monoclonal antibodies, which were considered to be a viable treatment for Covid-19, has been touted to be as game changer' in the fight against the pandemic.
The treatment came under the spotlight when it was administered to former US president Donald Trump in October 2020, who ultimately recovered from the coronavirus. Trump was administered with an antibody cocktail by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Apart from the antibody cocktail, Trump was given the antiviral drug remdesivir, and the steroid dexamethasone.
Recently, it was reported that doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi have successfully treated COVID patients with monoclonal antibody therapy that showed remarkable recovery from the onset of symptoms of Covid-19 and were discharged within hours following the treatment.
So what is monoclonal antibody?
Monoclonal antibody (mAb or moAb) is an antibody made by cloning a unique white blood cell. All subsequent antibodies derived this way trace back to a unique parent cell.
Researchers have revealed that the use of mAbs is the foremost innovative approach that could prevent as well as treat infected patients. Several researchers are focusing on developing new cures based on specific mAbs to inhibit and/or neutralize SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients.
However, antibody treatments are nothing new and has previously been used in treating pathogens like Ebola and HIV. The REGCov2 is developed by Regeneron which is conducting the phase-3 Covid-19 prevention trials.
Is monoclonal antibody therapy available in India?
The same Regeneron drug got emergency authorisation in India from the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) in early May. The cocktail - composed of Casirivimab and Imdevimab - was cleared for use in mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in high-risk patients. It has been launched in India in partnership with Cipla and costs Rs 59,750 for each patient dose of 1200mg (600 mg of Casirivimab and 600 mg of Imdevimab).
Another drug, made by the US-based drugmaker Eli Lilly, too, has been cleared for use in India.
It should be noted that the monoclonal antibody therapies are not recommended for severe cases of COVID-19 where the patient has been hospitalised and on oxygen support.