New Delhi: Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Monday announced the launch of its antibody cocktail drug in India for the treatment of Covid- 19.
Two drugs, Casirivimab and Imdevimab, are used together to create an experimental antibody cocktail, which was given to former US President Donald Trump, when he contracted Covid-19 in October last year. The cocktail will be sold in India at Rs 59,750, inclusive of all taxes.
The drug was approved on 10 May by India’s top drug regulatory agency, the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO), for use in emergency situations, during Covid treatment.
The cocktail can be used to treat mild to moderate Covid, in patients who are at “high risk of severe Covid” — that is those whose infection may turn severe.
Mumbai-based drug-maker Cipla will be marketing the medicine across India. Roche India and Cipla have already announced the availability of the first batch of the antibody cocktail in the country, while a second batch will be made available by mid-June.
“In total they [the available batch of cocktail drugs] can potentially benefit 200,000 patients, as each of the 100,000 packs that will be available in India offers treatment for two patients,” the companies said in joint press statement released Monday.
The drug will be available through leading hospitals and Covid treatment centers.
“The price for each patient dose will be Rs 59,750 inclusive of all taxes. The maximum retail price for the multi-dose pack (for two patients) is Rs 1,19,500 inclusive of all taxes,” according to the statement.
Can be administered to…
The antibody cocktail should be used for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid patients, including adults and children who are 12 years of age or above, and to those who are at “high risk” of developing severe Covid-19 disease”, but do not require oxygen.
“It has been shown to help these high-risk patients before their condition worsens, reducing the risk of hospitalisation and fatality by 70 per cent and shortening the duration of symptoms by four days,” claimed the companies marketing the cocktail.
The drug, according to its manufacturers, should only be administered in settings in which health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat infusion reactions, such as anaphylaxis or an allergic reaction.
The cocktail can be administered either through the vein or under the skin. “The intravenous administration takes about 20 to 30 minutes. For the subcutaneous route, four syringes of 2.5 ml (two each of Casirivimab and Imdevimab) need to be administered concurrently at four different sites on the abdomen or thigh,” explained the statement.
The receipient’s condition needs to be monitored during the infusion and observed for least 15 minutes to one hour after the completion of the infusion.
How does the drug work?
Casirivimab and Imdevimab are human immunoglobulin G-1 (IgG1) monoclonal antibodies produced by recombinant DNA technology in the lab.
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that mimic the human immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses, while G1 is an important antibody that’s created in response to a virus attack. Recombinant DNA technology is the system of genetic recombination that brings two different genetic materials together.
“Casirivimab and Imdevimab are monoclonal antibodies that are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells,” said the joint press release by Roche and Cipla Monday.
The two antibodies bind to different parts of the virus spikes and the company claims that the cocktail “remains efficacious against widest spread variants and reduces the risk of losing its neutralisation potency against new emerging variants”.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)