For the first time, the World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending a combination of drugs to prevent severe Covid-19 disease in infected high-risk patients.
The WHO referred to studies indicating a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab by the US company Regeneron and the Swiss company Roche can improve patients’ chances of survival.
The WHO now recommends the administration of casirivimab and imdevimab for coronavirus patients with previous illnesses who run the risk of falling seriously ill with Covid-19 and face treatment in intensive care units. The WHO published its new recommendations in the British Medical Journal.
Patients at higher risk for hospitalization and those who have not developed natural antibodies against Covid-19 are the two patient groups that stand to benefit most from the combined drug treatment, the WHO said in a statement.
The WHO urged manufacturers and governments to address the high price and limited production of the Regeneron antibody combination and noted that negotiations are being held with Roche about lower prices, a possible donation and fair distribution around the world.
The aid organization Doctors Without Borders reported that Regeneron has already filed patent applications in at least eleven poorer countries, and called on the company to refrain from enforcing patents in poorer countries.
It was not fair that people who live in poorer countries do not have access to these Covid-19 drugs, which reduce the risk of death, just because pharmaceutical companies have a monopoly and want high returns, Elin Hoffmann Dahl from Doctors Without Borders said.