COVID antibody cocktail approved in Japan

NHK -- Jul 21
Japan's health ministry has approved an antibody cocktail as a COVID-19 treatment. It's the first authorization in the country of a medicine that can be used on patients with mild symptoms.

Chugai Pharmaceutical had filed an application in late June. The treatment is a combination of two virus-neutralizing antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab.

The cocktail won emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration last November. It was used on then-President Donald Trump when he was hospitalized with COVID-19.

Chugai says a clinical trial overseas has confirmed that the antibody drug can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by about 70 percent.

The health ministry gave the green light on Monday following an expert meeting's endorsement of the efficacy and safety of the drug.

The cocktail has become the fourth treatment to be authorized for coronavirus patients in Japan. The others are the anti-viral drug remdesivir, steroid dexamethasone and anti-inflammation drug baricitinib.

The antibody cocktail will be used on elderly patients or those with underlying health problems who have developed light to medium symptoms. Only hospitalized patients will have access to the medicine for the time being because of limited supply.

The ministry says the early-stage treatment is expected to help prevent serious symptoms. - NHK