Thu, 15 Apr 2021

French authorities have granted temporary approval of a monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid patients at risk of developing severe forms of the disease. The therapy, which uses laboratory-made proteins to mimic the immune system's defences, is the first of its kind to be authorised in France.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said France had already received thousands of doses of the monoclonal treatment, developed by US pharmaceutical Eli Lilly

"These new treatments give us hope, and strengthen our anti-Covid arsenal," Veran told a press conference on Thursday. "Some 83 hospital centres are ready to begin the treatment, with caution, initially for patients aged 80 and over, and those with immunity disorders."

The top health body, the DGS, said it will also be available to patients undergoing organ transplants, dialysis or chemotherapy.

Veran said tens of thousands more monoclonal antibody treatments would arrive next month.

The treatment, called bamlanivimab, uses a drip to deliver a cocktail of synthetic proteins that mimic the immune system's ability to fight off antigens such as viruses. It is produced locally by Eli Lilly's Fegersheim site, near Strasbourg in eastern France.

EU approval

On Friday, the European Union's medicines agency, the EMA, approved the monoclonal treatment developed by another US biotech, Regeneron.

The recommendation can be used as guidance in EU countries on the use of the combination of casirivimab and imdevimab treatments. The EMA will continue to monitor the combined therapy in real-time, before considering recommendation for marketing authorisation.

Regeneron's antibody cocktail was authorised for emergency use in the United States in November, and was given to former US President Donald Trump during his COVID-19 infection.

The regulator is also reviewing Eli Lilly's treatment, as well as another from Celltrion.

(with AFP, Reuters)

Originally published on RFI

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