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Japan eyes Covid-19 antibody cocktail for homebound patients

Tokyo – Japan’s health ministry is working to approve at-home use of the Covid-19 antibody cocktail available to inpatients, as the country’s surge in new cases forces many hospitals to reserve beds only for the sickest.

The treatment, developed by US-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is believed to reduce the risk of severe symptoms and death by 70%.

The medication is geared toward patients with mild to moderate symptoms, and it is largely administered via IV drip to high-risk groups like the elderly and those with preexisting conditions.

Potential side effects such as anaphylaxis have limited the treatment’s use to patients who are staying at hospitals or designated hotels and being monitored by healthcare providers.

But hospital beds are in short supply as coronavirus infections soar in Japan, leading to a growing number of homebound patients.

The ministry aims to ensure outpatients receiving the antibody treatment can contact a doctor and be hospitalised should their conditions worsen.

Regeneron developed the antibody cocktail with Roche.

Then-president Donald Trump received the treatment when he contracted the coronavirus in 2020, and the US Food and Drug Administration authorised it for emergency use that November.

It was authorised for emergency use in Japan in July. — Nikkie

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