Covid: New approved treatment slashes risk of Covid by 77% – are you eligible to get it?

Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children

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From blood clots to lasting lung damage, there are different Covid risks with which your body might need extra help. That’s where antiviral pills and drugs can step in to provide aid. The new antibody cocktail is set to stop the infection or to prevent the virus from multiplying when it infects your body.

Although Covid keeps mutating with some variants being milder than the others, it can still cause severe disease in some cases.

The best-known protective measure that can shield you from severe illness and even death is the coronavirus jab.

However, certain people like those who are immunosuppressed might not respond well to them.

For example, patients undergoing chemotherapy might struggle to produce an immune response.

Fortunately, the new drug produced by AstraZeneca could aid exactly these people.

Called evusheld, the drug is administered through two injections at the same time.

It contains two types of laboratory-made antibodies – tixagevimab and cilgavimab.

These antibodies have been developed from plasma from patients who battled a Covid infection.

Being altered to last longer, the antibodies are able to bind to the virus’ spike protein and to stop infection or prevent Covid from replicating once it gets to your body.

Unlike vaccines that need to get the body to produce its own immune response, evusheld skips this part and makes the antibodies readily available.

This treatment is classified as “pre-exposure prophylaxis”, which means you take it to prevent Covid before you catch the infection.

What’s more, clinical trial has found that the drug can reduce the risk of symptomatic Covid by 77 percent for up to six months.

While the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the drug for use, the Department of Health and Social Care shared it hasn’t made an order for a single dose.

However, there are concerns whether the new treatment will be also effective against Omicron and its subvariant BA.2.

This is because the antibodies used by AstraZeneca were designed to deal with older versions of the virus.

The chair of the Commission on Human Medicines, Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, has suggested a stronger dose might be needed.

Who can receive it?

Evusheld has been approved for use in adults who are unlikely to mount an immune response from COVID-19 vaccination or for whom vaccination is not recommended.

According to the Government’s official website, recipients should not be currently infected with or had recent known exposure to a person infected with the COVID-19 virus.

What are the symptoms of Omicron BA.2?

While the NHS lists: cough, fever, loss or change to taste and smell; as the main symptoms, Omicron is linked to a greater variety of warning signs.

When it comes to Omicron BA.2, experts share that the symptoms of the new subvariant are likely to be the same as with its predecessor.

These Covid symptoms include:

  • Scratchy throat
  • Mild muscle aches
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Night sweats
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea.

You no longer have to self-isolate based on the law; however, the NHS still encourages people to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

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