A new therapy that helps the body fight off Covid-19 will be available for use in Abu Dhabi following a deal between health authorities and Swiss drug maker Roche.
The monoclonal antibody cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab - known as Regen-Cov in some markets – has been given to people with Covid-19 who are likely to develop severe symptoms.
“Today, we have taken a significant step towards improving healthcare services in Abu Dhabi," said Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi.
The deal will help efforts to "build a robust life science hub and spearhead the latest advancements for Covid-19 prevention and treatment", he said.
Roche has told US regulators the therapy can also be given to non-patients to protect them from potential coronavirus infection, including people with health conditions and those who are not fully vaccinated.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Regen-Cov for emergency use in August but stressed it was "not a substitute for vaccination against Covid-19".
The Abu Dhabi and Roche deal will lead to further "real-world evidence generation" and research, authorities said, and is the latest step in helping the capital to build its life science industry.
The agreement further expands the arsenal of treatments that can be given to patients with mild, moderate and severe Covid-19 symptoms.
The anti-viral drug sotrovimab has been given to thousands of patients in the emirate. Early results showed that 97 per cent of recipients fully recovered within 14 days.
Jump starting the immune system
A study by Roche partner Regeneron said the cocktail cut the risk of getting covid-19 by 82 per cent for up to eight months. It is part of a new generation of therapies that "jump-start" the immune system’s fight against the virus.
Jointly run with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the study enrolled people who lived in a household with someone diagnosed with Covid within the previous four days.
Earlier results from the trial showed the treatment cut the risk of infection by 81 per cent within the first month, Bloomberg reported earlier this month. The new data shows the protection was maintained, with an 82 per cent reduction in symptomatic infections for as long as eight months after the therapy was administered.
During the study, none of the people in the treatment group were admitted to hospital due to Covid, compared with six people in the placebo group. No deaths stemming from Covid infection occurred in either group.