The UAE approved the use of a new drug, Sotrovimab, to help save the lives of high-risk Covid-19 patients
30 May 2021| Last updated on 6 June 2021
The UAE is the first country to offer the new drug for public use.
What is this new drug, you ask?
Sotrovimab is a drug developed by UK pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and is reported to reduce coronavirus-related deaths and hospital admissions by up to 85 per cent.
GlaxoSmithKline is also known for their popular over-the-counter drugs, Panadol and Ventolin.
The new Covid-19 drug itself is an antibody treatment, with previous lab tests proving the medicine's effectiveness against variants of the virus.
The UAE has announced that they have approved the emergency use of Sotrovimab to help save the lives of patients in the emirates who are severely ill with Covid-19.
Earlier this month, the drug received emergency use clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said state news agency Wam.
"The new medicine will greatly contribute to speeding up the recovery of patients, reducing Covid-19-related deaths and treatment period in intensive care units," said Abdulrahman Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention.
"It will also support the country’s efforts being made to conduct Covid-19 tests and administer vaccines, retaining its leading position among the world's foremost countries, dealing efficiently with the Covid-19 pandemic," he added.
How does the Sotrovimab drug work?
According to the US FDA, Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody that is directed against the spike protein of coronavirus, designed specifically to block the virus' attachment and entry into human cells.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system's ability to fight pathogens.
When administered early in patients, it can reduce hospital stays for more than 24 hours and the death rate by as high as 85 per cent.
Who can receive Sotrovimab?
The drug can be used for Covid-19 patients aged 12 and above who are experiencing mild to moderate coronavirus, and who are at risk of serious illness.
UAE health authorities have been working alongside the drug developers to ensure the right protocols are in place for its safe and effective roll out in health facilities.
Guidelines will also be given to doctors on the drug's appropriate use.
As of May 30, officials reported 1,810 new cases, 1,777 recoveries, and four deaths. The total number of Covid-19 cases in UAE is now at 569,073, while total recoveries stand at 548,785. The death toll has risen to 1,677.