The British pharmaceutical industry company had conducted a trial against key mutations of the new Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant.
According to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), ”The antibody treatment was found to be safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection who are at an increased risk of developing severe disease.”
The two companies have been engineering so-called pseudoviruses that feature major coronavirus mutations across all suspicious variants that have emerged so far, and have run lab tests on their vulnerability to Sotrovimab treatment.
An analysis of past tests has now yielded the preliminary clearance for the drug, because Omicron’ main mutations have been found across a variety of previous variants.
“To date, Sotrovimab has demonstrated ongoing activity against all tested variants of concern and interest defined by the World Health Organization (WHO),” it added.
It believes a single dose of the drug was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 79 percent in high-risk adults with symptomatic COVID-19 infection.
The antibody is designed to latch on to the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus, but Omicron has been found to have an unusually high amount of mutations on that protein.
“Sotrovimab was deliberately designed with a mutating virus in mind,” said Vir Chief Executive George Scangos, adding that the drug was targeting a region of the spike protein that was highly unlikely to mutate.
Sotrovimab is based on monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-made versions of the natural antibodies the body generates to fight off an infection.
(With inputs from agencies)