First drug for preventing COVID infection to become available in Spain

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preventing COVID infection

The first drug authorised by the EMA for preventing COVID infection is to become available in Spain in the next few months.

Although vaccination against COVID infection has been proven to be highly effective, newly developed drugs could also be useful for stopping the spread of the virus. In mid-November, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised the first two drugs with monoclonal antibodies: Ronapreve, developed by the companies Regeneron and Roche, and Regkirona, from the South Korean pharmaceutical company Celltrion.

Clinical trials of both drugs have shown that they are effective at reducing the serious effects of COVID, and can therefore greatly reduce hospitalisations and deaths. However, Ronapreve can also be used to prevent infection, and could be used in immunosuppressed patients who require extra protection or who do not respond well to vaccination, such as cancer patients or those who have had transplants.

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It could also be used to protect the family members of COVID patients, people who live in places where vaccination is less readily available, or even people who refuse to get the vaccine.

The Spanish Ministry of Health will need to determine exactly who will be prescribed the drug, although it is authorised for use in adults and teenagers over 12. Federico Plaza, from the company Roche, has stated that it is likely to be available in Spain in around six to eight weeks, and they are currently discussing the possibility of including it in the public health system.

Ronapreve is effective against all variants of the virus, particularly Delta, the most common variant in Spain, and Roche is investigating its effectiveness against Omicron.


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