610 Covid patients in Mumbai given antibody cocktail, get speedy relief: Doctors | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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610 Covid patients in Mumbai given antibody cocktail, get speedy relief: Doctors

ByJyoti Shelar, Mumbai
Sep 16, 2021 09:22 PM IST

The cocktail drug used at SevenHills Hospital includes two monoclonal antibodies — Casirivimab and Imdevimab. One pack of the drug, containing the two monoclonal antibodies can be used on two patients

A dozen Covid-19 patients have received the monoclonal antibody cocktail on a daycare basis at the civic-run SevenHills Hospital. In all, the hospital has administered the experimental therapy to 610 patients and have found that it offers speedy symptom relief.

Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies injected into a patient to mimic the action of the natural antibodies (HT PHOTO)
Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies injected into a patient to mimic the action of the natural antibodies (HT PHOTO)

“The 12 patients underwent mandatory investigations and were then administered the antibody cocktail through an intravenous drip,” said Dr Maharudra Kumbhar, an officer on special duty at the SevenHills Hospital. “It takes about an hour to administer the therapy. Post that, they were observed for an hour or two and sent home. All the patients were called for a follow up after seven days,” he said.

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Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies injected into a patient to mimic the action of the natural antibodies. They are similar to natural antibodies that are produced in our bodies to fight attacks by viruses or bacteria, except that they are laboratory-made. Monoclonal antibodies are designed to target a specific disease and are often referred to as ‘designer antibodies’.

The cocktail drug used at SevenHills Hospital includes two monoclonal antibodies — Casirivimab and Imdevimab. One pack of the drug, containing the two monoclonal antibodies can be used on two patients.

India’s drug regulator granted emergency approval to the Casirivimab and Imdevimab cocktail in May. The drug is indicated for adults and paediatric patients (12 years of age or older weighing at least 40 kgs) who are at the risk of progressing to severe Covid-19. These include Covid-19 patients with high-risk factors such as age and comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, existing lung disease among others.

Kumbhar said they have observed good outcomes from the antibody cocktail drug and have not recorded any fatality among the 610 patients. “All patients experienced symptom relief within 48 hours. None of the patients’ conditions deteriorated further — they did not require oxygen support; their chest scan did not worsen. Also, their swabs came negative within four to five days, which means that the antibody cocktail helped in reducing the viral load and hindered the process of viral replication,” he said.

The medical team at SevenHills has minutely categorised the patients who are eligible to get the cocktail drug. “We are picking up high-risk patients in the early stage of the disease. That’s when the cocktail drug proves effective,” he said.

The 610 patients who have received the cocktail drug include additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani who was hospitalised at SevenHills last month after testing positive for the infection. “It is a good drug, but it should be administered with proper medical advice,” Kakani told Hindustan Times. He was fully vaccinated in March.

The hospital is in the process of compiling its observations on the cocktail drug in the form of a study. At present, they are in the stage of getting approval from their ethics committee.

Infectious disease expert Dr Om Shrivastav agreed that the selection of patients and timing is crucial for the antibody cocktail to work. “If we pick our patients carefully, and time the antibody cocktail well, the results are very good,” said Shrivastav, who has administered the therapy to nearly 100 patients of which about 25 were on a daycare basis. “It is ideal to start the therapy within 72 hours of symptoms. Patients who have already developed full-blown pneumonia or other complications may not benefit from the therapy,” he said.

The drug costs about 1.20 lakh. Since it can be used for two patients, the cost comes to 60,000 each. The vials need to be stored at 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius. Once opened, the vials should be stored at the same temperature and used within 48 hours.

While patients are getting the drug free of cost at the SevenHills Hospital, it can be an expensive therapy for those taking treatment in the private sector. Offering the therapy on a daycare basis saves the cost of hospitalisation. Doctors, however, warn that not all patients can qualify for daycare, as some may require close monitoring.

“Even those who are chosen for daycare should be followed up closely,” said Shrivastav.

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