A new Swiss-US Covid-19 drug could provide treatment

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche has joined forces with an American biotechnology company, Regeneron, to develop prevention and treatment for Covid-19.

A new Swiss-US Covid-19 drug could provide treatment
Swiss and US scientists are developing new treatment for Covid-19. Photo by AFP

The two companies are teaming up to develop, manufacture and distribute the investigational combination of two antiviral antibodies.

The product “could provide a much-needed treatment option for people already experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, and also has the potential to prevent infection in people exposed to the virus”, Roche said in a statement.

The medicine is being tested on humans in clinical trials for the treatment of Covid-19, and for the prevention of the new coronavirus in household contacts of infected individuals.

If it proves safe and effective and regulatory approvals are granted, Regeneron will distribute the product in the United States, while Roche will do the same in the rest of the world.

“We are excited about the potential for one medicine to serve both as a treatment for those infected, as well as protection for people exposed to the virus. REGN-COV2 could be a critical line of defence against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Roche Pharmaceuticals chief executive Bill Anderson.

The collaboration should more than triple the current supply capacity of REGN-COV2, said Roche, with the potential for further expansion. Regeneron scientists designed REGN-COV2 specifically to block the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19. 

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