Xevudy: Covid treatment which could tackle Omicron variant approved by regulator

UK regulators have approved a Covid-19 treatment that manufacturers say works against the new Omicron variant.
The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has announced that it is giving the green light to Xevudy, a drug developed by GSK and Vir Biotechnology.

Its manufacturers say the drug could address the Omicron variant of Covid-19, with preclinical data showing that the drug "retains activity against key mutations of the new Omicron Sars-CoV-2 variant."

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the strain had been reported in at least 23 countries around the world.

The UK has recorded more than 30 cases of the Omicron variant.

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Xevudy works by binding to the spike protein on the outside of the Covid-19 virus, thus preventing the virus from attaching itself to and entering human cells, so that it cannot replicate in the body.

In a clinical trial, a single dose of Xevudy was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 79% in high-risk adults with symptomatic Covid.

The drug has been licensed for use in people who have a mild to moderate Covid-19 infection and at least one risk factor for developing a serious illness, such as being over the age of 60, obesity, diabetes mellitus, or heart disease.

The drug is approved for people 12 years and older who weigh more than 40kg, and the UK government has ordered around 100,000 doses.

The drug is the second monoclonal antibody treatment approved by the MHRA after Ronapreve.