The EU has purchased 55,000 doses of a monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid-19, which significantly reduces the hospitalisation of patients.
REGN-COV2, produced by Regeneron in the US and Roche in Europe, contains two components - one animal-derived and one human-derived antibody. These target different regions of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, making it more likely it will still be effective against new variants of the virus.
Pre-clinical trials in hamsters and monkeys, showed that the cocktail was effective, and then clinical trials in Covid-19 patients demonstrated a 70% reduction in hospital admissions and death.
The treatment is the first based on monoclonal antibodies to be secured by the EU and is now under rolling review by the European Medicines Agency, however EU countries can use the drug under emergency authorisation.