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How Low-Cost Antibody Cocktail Can Be a Game Changer in Fighting Covid in India | India News

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NEW DELHI: Last week, an 84-year-old man from Haryana was administered the “famous” anti-Covid cocktail that was also given to former US President Donald Trump.
The monoclonal antibody cocktail has been touted as a “game changer” in the fight against Covid. Studies have shown that 80% of the patients who took the drug did not require hospitalization.
The most famous example was Trump himself, who tested positive last year. In a week, he was back at work.
However, the cost of the drug remains high.
Cipla markets the drug in hospitals at an estimated price of Rs 59,000 per dose. Only one dose is needed.
‘A game changer’
In an interview with ANI, Dr. Arvinder S Soin of Medanta Hospital said that producing the monoclonal antibody drug at a reasonable price in India could be a “game changer” for the country.
“If these (monoclonal antibody drugs) are made in large enough quantities at a reasonable price. Monoclonal antibodies could be a game changer for India and the world, and especially for elderly patients and high-risk children. It may There will come a time of year when anyone who tests positive can have monoclonal antibodies, and to avoid serious disease, we should adopt them early, “said Dr. Soin.

He noted that three specific drugs (monoclonal antibody drug) authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and one by the Central Indian Standard Drug Control Organization (CDSCO) can “cut off Covid infection. root “.
Dr. Soin said the drug should be given soon after the patient tests positive and certainly in the first week of infection.
This can prevent serious illness and death.
Echoing this, Dr. Nirmal K Ganguly, former CEO of ICMR, said that monoclonal antibodies work as they are made against targeted epitopes.
“Since this (monoclonal antibody) is a very expensive product, do not use it for all people infected with Covid. Use it only for those with a severe infection, who are hospitalized, have a very high risk and have a higher chance of mortality.” . Dr. Ganguly added.

Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, former ICMR chief scientist, said: “We cannot say that (the rational use of plasma and Remdesivir) are the only reasons for the variants. In the next few days, we will find out how monoclonal antibodies work against Covid. and its variants “.
But is a low-cost solution possible?
Dr. Ganguly told ANI that the cost of monoclonal antibody therapy can be reduced by developing a very efficient system for its manufacture.
“Today, monoclonal antibodies are produced through the mammalian cell culture system and can be produced in greater quantities through fermentation technology,” said the former CEO of ICMR.
“This mammalian cell culture system has to be a very high expression system because it is administered in grams and not in milligrams or micrograms, so the required amount must be produced very efficiently and that makes it expensive”, Dr. Ganguly added.
What is antibody cocktail therapy?
The therapy is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies.
Antibodies are proteins that the body generates to defend itself against any disease. Monoclonal antibodies are artificially created in a laboratory and custom made to fight a particular disease.
Normal antibodies in any Covid patient develop only after 14 days of contracting the infection. But in this drug, laboratory-made antibodies work instantly.
Casirivimab and imdevimab, which are part of the antibody cocktail produced by Switzerland-based Roche, are specifically targeted against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which causes Covid.
They block the adhesion of the virus and its subsequent entry into human cells. The use of two antibodies protects against the body’s resistance to them.
A cocktail of antibodies is given intravenously or subcutaneously (under the skin) as an injection.
Where is it administered in India?
Currently, it is being administered at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram, Haryana and at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in Delhi and Apollo Hospital.
Zydus Cadila has also applied for approval for early to late stage human trials of its antibody cocktail candidate, ZRC-3308, to treat mild Covid-19 patients.
(With contributions from ANI)



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