The European Medicines Agency has cleared two drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 in the European Union (EU), one being an Arthritis medicine while the other being monoclonal antibody therapy. Vir Biotechnology in collaboration with British Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) produces the antiviral drug Xevudy while Sobi a Swedish company produces Kineret an arthritis drug. With the clearance of these two drugs, the EU has now approved the usage of six drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. The other treatments that have obtained approval include Ronapreve (Regeneron Roche’s antibody cocktail), Regkirona (Celltrion’s antibody-drug), RoActemra ( Roche’s arthritis drug), and Remdesivir (Gilead’s infusion drug).
Monoclonal antibody treatment of Ronapreve has been approved for emergency treatment in India as well and the treatment is priced at ₹ 1.9 lakhs. Pills from Pfizer and Merck and AstraZeneca’s antibody cocktail are also being reviewed by the EMA keeping in mind the increasing number of daily cases being reported. Laboratory studies indicate that Xevudy can be activated against other variants apart from the SARS-CoV-2 including the Omicron variant.