GSK to fast track breakthrough Covid drug

GSK to fast track breakthrough Covid drug after trials found it cut deaths and hospitalisations by 85%

A breakthrough Covid-19 drug is being put forward for emergency use by Glaxosmithkline after trials found it cut patient deaths and hospitalisations by 85pc.

Based on the ‘profound’ results, the British pharmaceuticals company yesterday said it was urgently seeking approval from regulators for the antibody treatment.

It means the medicine – which scientists say is also effective against new variants of the coronavirus – could soon be made available to patients in the UK.

Glaxosmithkline, led by chief executive Emma Walmsley (pictured) – yesterday said it was urgently seeking approval from regulators for its new Covid treatment

Antibody treatments can help to bolster the immune systems of patients who are struggling to fight off a disease themselves.

Hal Barron, GSK’s science chief, said: ‘We are pleased that this unique antibody was able to bring such a profound benefit to patients. 

‘We look forward to the possibility of making it available to patients as soon as possible and to further exploring its potential in other settings.’

GSK has also been developing a vaccine alongside French drug group Sanofi, although the rollout has been delayed due to mistakes with the trial.

The antibody drug, which was developed jointly with San Francisco-based pharma firm Vir Biotechnology, has been undergoing late-stage tests involving 583 patients globally.

And the results were so overwhelmingly positive, GSK said an independent monitoring committee had recommended that no further volunteers need to be recruited. In a further boost of efforts to combat the pandemic, the company said tests found that the drug works against variants of the virus including the UK, South African and Brazilian versions.

GSK is now seeking authorisation for the drug to be made available for emergency use for patients with mild to moderate cases of Covid-19.