COVID: Mild cases at risk of deterioration to be given antibody drug

Regeneron was authorized in November for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 The Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company logo is seen on a building at the company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, US September 17, 2020. (photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
The Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company logo is seen on a building at the company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, US September 17, 2020.
(photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

Patients infected with corona who are considered at high risk of developing severe symptoms will be administered the Regeneron antibody-drug combination, beginning Thursday.

Among these patients are those presenting factors such as obesity, heart and lung diseases, as well as unvaccinated individuals.

The cocktail, a combination of different antibodies, was authorized in November for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration.

According to Regeneron’s data, if administered in the early stage of infection, the treatment reduces hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk individuals by 70%.

The medicine will be given to patients who are treated at home under the supervision of their health fund.

A YOUTH receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a Clalit inoculation center in Petah Tikva last week. (credit: FLASH90)A YOUTH receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a Clalit inoculation center in Petah Tikva last week. (credit: FLASH90)

Clalit, Israel’s largest healthcare provider, said doctors and nurses will visit the relevant patients in order to administer the drug.

“In light of the quantity limits set by the Health Ministry, the main challenge was in objectively determining who among those infected in a mild condition should be given priority according to the risk of deterioration to a severe condition,” said Prof. Ran Balicer, Clalit’s chief of innovation. “Clalit has been the first to develop an artificial-intelligence-based predictive model for deterioration in coronavirus patients and has implemented it in the field as early as March 2020.”

Balicer noted that the model, which has been updated to take into consideration the characteristics of the Delta variant, ranks the patients according to factors that include age, previous hospitalizations and vaccination status.

The US government has bought three million doses of Regeneron.

Reuters contributed to this report.