Covid-19: Sir Patrick Vallance warns 'virus hasn't gone away'
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Garry Tayler, 47, from Saffron Walden in Essex, has barely left his house since the start of the pandemic – despite his four vaccine jabs. Tayler is immunosuppressed, meaning that if he got the virus, he wouldn’t be able to make enough antibodies to protect himself. Staying inside at all times for the marathon runner has put a strain on his relationship. But he has “hope” that a new medication by AstraZeneca will be the cure to his unending Covid nightmare.
Evusheld has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to prevent COVID-19 in people whose immune response is poor.
Tayler has a disease called primary immune deficiency (PID), a rare genetic disorder of the immune system which means the immune system does not function properly.
Without a functioning immune system, people with the condition are at risk of “debilitating” and chronic diseases–including the Epstein-Barr virus which causes glandular fever.
While many people have celebrated the easing of the lockdown, Tayler has continued to isolate at his home while his wife, who is required to go into the office, has left.
“I’m pretty much stuck at home. I’ve barely socialised. And it’s been pretty tough on my wife. Unfortunately, our marriage is pretty much broken down as a result.
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“When the UK started coming out of lockdown and headed towards Freedom Day, I think the period’s been pretty difficult in my house. Just seeing the rest of the Uk returned back to normal.”
“It’s been a bit of a pressure point.”
But he is hopeful a preventative medication called Evusheld by AstraZeneca will end the need for “Covid shielding” by giving them an adequate immune response to COVID-19.
After protest from campaign groups, the regulatory authority for medicines has approved the drug which “prevents the virus from attaching to and entering human cells,” according to a Government press release.
Tayler, who is yet to receive a dose of Evusheld, said: “I tell you what, if this was released, I would be ecstatic. There doesn’t seem to be any movement. I know there’s a lot of people campaigning, such as immunodeficiency UK.
“It would just allow me to resume a normal life.
“I look to Evusheld for giving me confidence.”
At the moment, one of the main Covid treatment for immune suppressed people, other than the vaccines, is a medicine called sotrovimab.
Sotrovimab is known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody but unlike Evusheld is used after infection.
Evusheld is known as a “pre-exposure” medicine and is authorised by the regulator to be used before infection.
Talking about sotrovimab, he said: “Feels like a huge risk and a huge unknown.
It doesn’t sit well with me and I’m pretty upset.”
Tayler spotted the first symptoms of PID when he was 30. After what would be his last ever marathon in October 2004, he had severe fatigue.
He said that he was “misdiagnosed” for a year until he attended the Harley Street hospital in London.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of PID can include:
- Inflammation and infection of internal organs
- Recurrent pneumonia and infections such as ear infections
- Digestive problems
- Blood disorders.
It suggests that if you keep having recurrent infections, you should visit your doctor as early diagnosis can prevent long-term problems from occurring.The condition is inheritable and is caused by genetic defects.
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