Commission signs contract to procure monoclonal antibody therapy against Covid-19

At least three new therapeutics will be authorised by October

Photo: EPA Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

The European Commission on Tuesday signed a joint procurement framework contract with the pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Kline for the supply of sotrovimab (VIR-7831), an investigational monoclonal antibody therapy, developed in collaboration with VIR biotechnology, EC Press service reported on Wednesday. It is part of the first portfolio of five promising therapeutics announced by the Commission in June 2021, and is currently under rolling review by the European Medicines Agency.

16 EU Member States are participating in the procurement for the purchase of up to 220,000 treatments. Sotrovimab can be used for the treatment of coronavirus patients with mild symptoms who do not require supplemental oxygen, but who are at high risk for severe COVID-19. Ongoing studies suggest that early treatment can reduce the number of patients that progress to more severe forms and require hospitalisation or admission to the intensive care units.

“We committed in our Covid-19 Therapeutics Strategy to have at least three new therapeutics authorised by October. We are now delivering a second framework contract that brings monoclonal antibodies treatments to patients. Alongside vaccines, safe and effective therapeutics will play a pivotal role in Europe's return to a new normal,” Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said.

Monoclonal antibodies are proteins conceived in the laboratory that mimic the immune system's ability to fight the coronavirus. They attach to the spike protein and thus block the virus' attachment to the human cells. The European Commission concluded nearly 200 contracts for different medical countermeasures worth over €12 bn. Under the current framework contract with Glaxo Smith Kline, Member States can purchase sotrovimab (VIR-7831) if and when needed, once it has received either emergency use authorisation in the Member State concerned or a (conditional) marketing authorisation at EU level from the European Medicines Agency.

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