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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Supply boost of GSK’s COVID-19 infusion while Government looks to secure MSD’s new antiviral

Health Industry Hub | October 5, 2021 |
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Pharma News: The Australian Government has increased supplies of GSK’s promising COVID-19 treatment Xevudy (sotrovimab) with over 15,000 additional doses arriving in Australia over recent days.

Sotrovimab is a novel monoclonal antibody and was approved for use by the TGA on 20 August.

The sotrovimab treatment requires a single dose to be administered through an intravenous (IV) infusion in a health care facility and has been shown to reduce hospitalisation or death by 79% in adults with mild to moderate COVID-19, who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19.

Australia has increased its initial orders of sotrovimab for the National Medical Stockpile from over 7,700 doses to over 31,000 doses, with final deliveries to occur over the coming months.

Dr Alan Paul, Country Medical Director at GSK Australia, said that the company is pleased to be part of ensuring the Australian community are able to have greater access to an early treatment option for COVID-19.

“GSK is committed to partnering with the Australian Government to ensure Australians get prompt access to approved treatments,” said Dr Paul. 

“We are at a stage now where Australians in some states are looking forward to a life where lockdowns start to ease. We must make sure that we use a range of public health measures – including effective treatments – to reduce the impact on our health system during this transition toward life as we used to know it.

“Vaccines are a critical element in our response to the pandemic and we also need to have a range of interventions available if people do become infected, to help keep people out of hospital and reduce the severity of the disease. This means social distancing, hand washing, mask-wearing, vaccination and effective evidenced-based treatment options.”

As with all COVID-19 treatments procured for the Stockpile, this treatment is provided to State and Territory governments as requested. Sotrovimab can then be administered to eligible patients in an appropriate healthcare facility.

Medical experts estimate that eight to 15% of adults with COVID-19 will be recommended for treatment with sotrovimab and this treatment must be given within five days of symptoms onset.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt will also announce the government has agreed to buy 300,000 courses of MSD’s antiviral drug molnupiravir, if cleared by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Greg Hunt MP said on Monday “I have spoken with the CEO in Australia and encouraged Merck [MSD] to apply for Molnupiravir to have registration here, that would be in the hands of the TGA.”

MSD reported that oral molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by approximately 50% compared to placebo for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 in positive interim analysis of the phase 3 study.


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