New Covid-19 antibody treatment approved in Kuwait

Kuwait becomes the Middle East's second country after the UAE to approve the sotrovimab antibody treatment

Kuwait has approved a new single-dose Covid-19 antibody therapy which has shown an 85 per cent reduction in hospitalisation among patients in Phase III trials, state media announced on Wednesday.

Sotrovimab is a lab-made antibody "that mimics the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens" like the coronavirus, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on its website.

This makes Kuwait the second country in the Middle East after the United Arab Emirates to allow the use of the treatment for mild to moderate coronavirus cases by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology.

"Preclinical data suggest it has the potential to both block viral entry into healthy cells and clear infected cells," the GSK website said of the treatment.

The FDA authorised the investigational therapy in May but said did not authorise it for Covid-19 patients who are hospitalised or require an oxygen supply as it may harm them instead.

"Monoclonal antibodies may be associated with worse clinical outcomes when administered to hospitalised patients requiring high flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation," it said.

Kuwait also said it will donate $40 million donation to the international program for the equitable supply of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries, Covax.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health announced 1,345 new cases and four deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 311,846 cases and 1,779 deaths.

In Bahrain, health authorities said it will give US Pfizer booster shots for "vulnerable" citizens inoculated with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health Undersecretary Dr Waleed Khalifa Al Manea.

This comes after Covid-19 cases in Bahrain had surged in mid-May, potentially coinciding with the reopening of the causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia on May 17.

Ten days later, Bahrain said it would close shopping malls, coffee and dining outlets for two weeks and enforce a work-from-home policy on 70 per cent of the government's workforce in a bid to curb the spread of the disease.

Updated: June 3, 2021 08:41 PM

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