The experimental monoclonal antibody drug, given to former US President Donald Trump last year, showed encouraging results when administered to 212 patients at BMC-run SevenHills Hospital in Mumbai.
According to doctors, fever reduced within 48 hours of giving the drug, no side-effects were observed and hospitalisation visits reduced to only five-six from the earlier 13-14 days.
The cocktail drug used two monoclonal antibodies Casirivimab and Imdevimab, which were combined and administered to the patients through saline drip. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses.
At the start of the treatment, 179 patients had a fever, around 79% had both cough and fever or cough without a fever. Four patients had to be put on oxygen support. Also, the average HRCT test (High-Resolution Computed Tomography) score of the patients was 7 to 8 out of 25. The highest being 11.
The study of the experiment showed only one patient needed oxygen supply after taking the cocktail drug, the mortality rate came down by 70%.
“We have given antibody cocktail to 212 patients, who were over 12 years old, weighed over 40 kg, and had more than one comorbidity, and they were corona positive… antibody cocktail can be administered under doctor’s supervision through saline over a period of one hour… after giving the cocktail, fever reduced within 48 hours, no side effects were observed, mortality rate came down to 70% and hospitalisation time reduced to 5 to 6 days,” Dr Balkrishna Adsul, Dean, SevenHills Hospital. Apart from ramping up the infrastructure, BMC has been trying to come up with “new and improved ways to fight off the virus and treat those infected,” he added.
So far, conclusions have been made for 199 of the 212 Covid patients. A detailed study is still being done by the administration.
Of the 199 patients, 101 were in the age group of 18 to 45 years, 45 patients were 45 to 59 years old and nearly 53 were in their 60s. And 74 patients had at least one co-morbidity.
The cocktail treatment is also financially beneficial to the patients as there is no need for the oxygen supply and other expensive medications thereby reducing the number of hospital visits. Considering the requirement for medical manpower, the treatment can be provided through OPD (Outpatient Department) and would also cut down on the number of hospital days, which will reduce the work load of doctors.
The drugs have been approved the Drugs Controller General of India. The antibody drug comes in two vials and cost Rs 1,20,000. One vial (for Rs 60,000) can be administered to a patient with mild to moderate symptoms. The BMC will procure the drug through National Health Mission and will administer to patients at state-run and corporation hospitals for free.