An experimental coronavirus drug given to former US president Donald Trump will be available for the UK’s most vulnerable hospital patients from next week.
Ronapreve, which Mr Trump received when he was in a Washington-area hospital suffering from Covid-19, has the potential to be a game-changing drug for the National Health Service.
The antibody cocktail has reduced hospital stays by four days and cut the risk of death by about 20 per cent.
The Department of Health and Social Care said on Friday that Ronapreve had the potential to benefit thousands of patients, with its roll-out initially aimed at those who have not mounted an antibody response against Covid-19.
The government has bought enough of the drug to treat eligible hospital patients across the UK from next week, the department said.
“We have secured a brand new treatment for our most vulnerable patients in hospitals across the UK and I am thrilled it will be saving lives from as early as next week,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.
“The UK is leading the world in identifying and rolling out life-saving medicines, particularly for Covid-19, and we will continue our vital work to find the best treatments available to save lives and protect the NHS.”
In August, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the clinical trial data it assessed showed that Ronapreve can be used to prevent infection, treat symptoms of serious infection and cut the likelihood of being admitted to hospital.
Trials took place before widespread vaccination and before the emergence of virus variants.
The drug became the first monoclonal antibody combination product approved for use in the prevention and treatment of acute infection from the virus in the UK.
Monoclonal antibodies are man-made proteins that act like natural human antibodies in the immune system.
The agency said that the drug, developed by pharmaceutical firms Regeneron and Roche and previously known as REGN-Cov2, is given either by injection or infusion and acts on the lining of the respiratory system, where it binds tightly to the virus and prevents it from gaining access to the cells.