Sept 24 (Reuters) - A World Health Organization (WHO) panel
on Friday recommended the use of Regeneron and Roche's
COVID-19 antibody cocktail for patients at high risk of
hospitalisations and those severely ill with no natural
The treatment has been granted U.S. emergency use
authorisation, having gained attention when used to treat former
President Donald Trump's COVID-19 illness last year. Europe is
reviewing the therapy, while Britain approved it last month.
While acknowledging costs associated with the treatment, the
WHO panel said that given the recorded benefits of the therapy,
"the recommendations should provide a stimulus to engage all
possible mechanisms to improve global access to the intervention
and associated testing."
In a separate statement, the WHO called on Regeneron to
lower prices and distribute the treatment equitably worldwide,
especially in low- and middle-income countries. The agency also
urged the firms to transfer tech to help make biosimilars.
The treatment, called Ronapreve, or REGEN-COV in the United
States, has been a big earner for Regeneron, logging in U.S.
sales of $2.59 billion in the second quarter.
Regeneron is going to supply 1.4 million additional doses of
to the U.S. government by Jan. 31 at a cost of $2,100 per dose.
French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) echoed
the UN agency's comments, demanding that affordable and
sustainable access to life-saving drugs during the pandemic must
The WHO guidelines, published in the British Medical Journal
(BMJ), were based on data from a large British study and three
other trials that have not yet been peer reviewed.
In June, Britain's RECOVERY trial https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/regeneron-covid-19-therapy-cuts-deaths-among-hospitalised-patients-who-lack-2021-06-16
found the therapy reduced deaths in hospitalised patients whose
own immune systems had failed to produce a response.
The treatment, a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab,
is based on a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies which
mimic natural antibodies produced by the human body to fight off
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna