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Drug cocktail a game changer, say Hyderabad doctors


(This story originally appeared in on Jun 19, 2021)

With several variants of the novel coronavirus in circulation causing mild to severe infection, Hyderabad doctors vouch for monoclonal antibody cocktail for quick and effective result in controlling the viral load.

About 100 Covid-19 patients have so far undergone antibody cocktail treatment at various hospitals in the city with successful outcomes.

Most of the patients were discharged the same day. City doctors describe the cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab, the two monoclonal antibody drugs currently in use in India, as a game changer in treating cases within the first seven days of infection.


Stating that cocktail drug is effective in reducing requirement for hospitalisation in about 70% of eligible patients, Dr KB Chetan Reddy, consultant physician and critical care specialist, AIG Hospitals, Gachibowli, said monoclonal antibody treatment is a game changer provided it is given within the seven days of onset of symptoms.

The cocktail is becoming popular as it administered as outpatient treatment and the patient can leave for home after one hour of observation.

According to Dr Suneetha Narreddy, consultant, infectious diseases,

, Jubilee Hills, data shows that the cocktail works best within three days of symptom onset and is efficacious up to seven days from symptom onset.

The emergency use authorisation approval is for up to 10 days of infection (symptoms).

“High viral load is present usually up to first five days of symptom onset. Hence, this medicine is best given within five days of symptom onset,” she said, adding that though the recommended dose is 1,200 mg, the cocktail works even at a lower dose of 600 mg.

Explaining how the cocktail works, Dr Bruno Jolain, chief medical officer, Roche Pharma India, said monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. They are specifically directed against the spike protein of the novel coronavirus.

“The cocktail remains efficacious against widest spread variants and reduces the risk of losing its neutralisation potency against new emerging variants,” Dr Bruno said. In-vitro assay studies showed the K417N mutation has no impact on the neutralising activity of the cocktail, he said.

Dr Hari Kishan Gonuguntla, lead, interventional pulmonology, Yashoda Hospitals, Secunderabad, said the cocktail can avoid hospital admission, besides being cost-effective. “There are no major side effects. This is going to be the standard of care for mild to moderate disease with high risk of progression that could prevent hospitalisation and mortality to a larger extent,” he added.

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