In a new study, researchers found a treatment combining two antibodies (casirivimab and imdevimab) could help two specific groups of patients with COVID-19.
The treatment is recommended by a WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel of international experts and patients.
The first are patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of hospitalization and the second are those with severe or critical COVID-19 who are seronegative, meaning they have not mounted their own antibody response to COVID-19.
The first recommendation is based on new evidence from three trials that casirivimab and imdevimab probably reduce the risk of hospitalisation and duration of symptoms in those at highest risk of severe disease, such as unvaccinated, older, or immunosuppressed patients.
This second recommendation is based on data showing that casirivimab and imdevimab probably reduce deaths and the need for mechanical ventilation in seronegative patients.
For all other COVID-19 patients, any benefits of this antibody treatment are unlikely to be meaningful.
Casirivimab and imdevimab are monoclonal antibodies that when used together bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, neutralizing the virus’s ability to infect cells.
The recommendations are part of a living guideline, developed by the World Health Organization with the methodological support of MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation, to provide up-to-date, trustworthy guidance on the management of COVID-19 and help doctors make better decisions with their patients.
Living guidelines are useful in fast-moving research areas like COVID-19 because they allow researchers to update previously vetted and peer-reviewed evidence summaries as new information become available.
The new guidance adds to previous recommendations for the use of interleukin-6 receptor blockers and systemic corticosteroids for patients with severe or critical COVID-19, and against the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19 regardless of disease severity.
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The study is published in The BMJ.
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