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The German government has announced that it will now purchase 200,000 doses of gamlanivimab and REGN-CoV-2 for a total of $ 485 million. That’s $ 2,400 each time. The drug is given to high-risk patients. Bamlanivimab is a single antibody therapy manufactured by Eli Lilly. REGN-CoV-2 is composed of two antibodies, kasilibimab and imdebimab, and was developed by Regeneron. Former US President Donald Trump was treated for the latter after being infected with the coronavirus last October. Both gamlanivimab and REGN-CoV-2 were urgently used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2020. The European Union has not yet approved either treatment.

Both antibody therapies are designed to block the SARS-CoV-2 peplomer and prevent the virus from adhering to and invading human cells. These identical so-called monoclonal antibodies are designed in the laboratory to attack one particular virus in one different way.

Bamlanivimab contains one monoclonal antibody. In contrast, REGN-CoV-2 is composed of two monoclonal antibodies. Regeneron, a US pharmaceutical company, says the antibody cocktail reduces viral load and helps the symptoms disappear faster. The advantage of Regeneron’s drug cocktail is that the inclusion of two antibodies increases the likelihood that at least one will prove effective during treatment. Virologist Sandra Ciesek told the German public broadcaster NDR.

Similar to passive vaccination

Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, said these treatments “act like passive vaccinations” and “administering these antibodies helps risk patients avoid serious illness. It will be useful for you. “

However, vaccination differs from such monoclonal antibody therapy in that it provokes an immune response in the human body that leads to the production of various antibodies. They bind to the virus in various places. They are called polyclonal antibodies. In the United States, bablanivimab and REGN-CoV-2 are approved for the treatment of patients aged 12 years and older who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. The FDA says both treatments reduce the chances of developing a serious illness.

Inpatients or patients who are respiratory dependent are not allowed to receive these medications. REGN-CoV-2 maker Regeneron says that those who have not yet produced antibodies to the coronavirus will benefit most from the antibody cocktail. Treatment has proven to be most effective within 10 days of infection, said Steven Hahn, head of the FDA. Nevertheless, many scientists say that there is still a lack of scientific data on this treatment.

German authorities are planning to test monoclonal antibody therapy in patients who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or who suffer from a weak immune system that does not produce enough antibodies.

-DW

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