Shares in pharma group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) were unmoved despite news of positive data for its Omicron Covid tests.

Glaxo and partner Vir Biotechnology are working on a monoclonal antibody drug called Sotrovimab and latest data demonstrated effectiveness against the latest Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Preclinical data has been generated through pseudo-virus testing of specific mutations found in Omicron. The two companies are in the process of completing further testing and hope to confirm the neutralising effect of Sotrovimab against the combination of all the known mutations of Omicron.

DESIGNED FOR MUTATIONS

Chief executive of Vir, George Scangos said: ‘Sotrovimab was deliberately designed with a mutating virus in mind. By targeting a highly conserved region of the spike protein that is less likely to mutate, we hoped to address both the current SARS-CoV-2 virus and future variants that we expected would be inevitable.’

Sotrovimab received emergency use authorisation in the US in May 2021 for treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in high risk adults and paediatric patients after trials showed the treatment reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 85% compared with patients taking the placebo.

Glaxo and Vir also recently applied to the European Medical Agency for the drug to be used to treat adults and adolescents with Covid-19 who do not require oxygen supplementation and who are at risk of progressing to severe Covid-19.

While more data and peer reviews await, the fact that sotrovimab is active against future mutations is good news in the battle against the pandemic.

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Issue Date: 02 Dec 2021