Boasting with every speech of former US President Donald Trump, who benefited from it, monoclonal antibodies continue their way into the fleet against Covid-19. In France, it will be possible to prescribe the two authorized cocktails, the Swiss laboratory Roche and the American Eli Lilly, to children at risk of severe infection from the age of 12, as well as in patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetics, and people with HIV From Friday 11 June.
A remedy that must be taken quickly
Between March, the date of arrival of the first deliveries, and May 31, 2021, just over 1,000 patients have already benefited from this treatment, within very strict frameworks. Monoclonal antibodies must be injected intravenously, in hospital, and especially as soon as possible to be effective. French rules currently stipulate a maximum period of five days after the first symptoms appear.
→ explanation. Monoclonal antibodies, a treatment against COVID-19 under investigation
Speed restrictions are not without a logistical problem. Brigitte Otran, Head of Immunology at Petit Salpetriere, who heard at the beginning of June before the Parliamentary Office evaluating scientific and technological options admitted “Delay between first symptoms and confirmation of disease and treatment” Which prevents widespread use.
The idea of this treatment is to select one or more antibodies produced by the treated person for cloning and then re-inject them into the patient. It is a quick but completely passive response to infection. This treatment does not promote the proper production of antibodies, as vaccination does. It also does not help if the disease is already well established and is also excluded for patients undergoing oxygen therapy.
More effective in people with a good immune system
a Study published in January 2021 Involving 450 patients, it showed a threefold reduction in viral load in those who received an average dose of bamlanivimab, one of two antibodies in Eli Lilly’s cocktail. Too strong a dose, on the contrary, was ineffective.
→ analysis. Treatments against Covid-19: France relies on monoclonal antibodies
Other Study on 230 patients, released in May 2021This efficacy is confirmed, with lower mortality and hospitalization rates, especially in people over 65 years of age. An age threshold can be explained by the fact that older people have a less efficient immune system and therefore benefited more from this “stimulant”.
Regarding the cocktail from the Roche laboratory, which was developed with the Americans from Regeneron, temporary analysis In 275 patients they also showed a decrease in viral load, with a greater effect in immunocompromised patients. Again, it stands to reason that those with a poor immune response show the most progress.
for Brigitte Otran, « The monoclonal antibody strategy has been shown to be effective and replicable in all emerging viral diseases ». Therefore, French doctors and researchers are demanding in the future the development of production chains in France.