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GSK says antibody cocktail appears to be effective against Omicron variant

GSK says antibody cocktail appears to be effective against Omicron variant
GSK said the drug has been approved for use in Britain and for emergency use in the United States. It's recommended for those who have a mild or moderate COVID-19 infection who are at risk of developing severe illness. File Photo by EPA-EFE

Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday that an antibody cocktail it developed with a U.S. biotech company has proven in lab testing to be effective against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

GSK has been developing the cocktail, sotrovimab, with California-based Vir Biotechnology.

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The companies said the treatment has proven effective in hamsters against viruses that were engineered to carry mutations of the Omicron variant.

"Sotrovimab was deliberately designed with a mutating virus in mind," Vir CEO George Scangos said in a statement. "By targeting a highly conserved region of the spike protein that is less likely to mutate, we hoped to address both the current SARS-CoV-2 virus and future variants that we expected would be inevitable."

The data indicated that sotrovimab could reduce coronavirus hospitalizations by almost 80%.

GSK said the drug has been approved for use in Britain for people over 12, and for emergency use in the United States. It's recommended for those who have a mild or moderate COVID-19 infection who are at risk of developing severe illness.

The drug is not intended for patients already hospitalized with COVID-19 or those requiring oxygen support due to the virus.

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Unlike Regeneron's molnupiravir, sotrovimab is administered by intravenous infusion over the course of 30 minutes.

Britain has ordered around 100,000 doses of the antibody cocktail.

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