GSK: Antibody treatment has potential to work against omicron

GlaxoSmithKline on Tuesday said that its COVID-19 antibody treatment had positive results in lab tests that show it has the potential to be effective against the new omicron variant.

GSK, and its partner Vir Biotechnology, tested the antibody treatment in the lab against the range of mutations found in the omicron variant and said the results were encouraging. 

“These pre-clinical data demonstrate the potential for our monoclonal antibody to be effective against the latest variant, Omicron, plus all other variants of concern defined to date by the WHO, and we look forward to discussing these results with regulatory authorities around the world,” said Hal Barron, GSK’s chief scientific officer. 

ADVERTISEMENT

GSK did say that there was a “less than three fold” drop in the antibody treatment’s neutralization activity against the omicron variant but said it was not enough of a drop to render it ineffective. 

“We are confident that sotrovimab will continue to provide significant benefit for the early treatment of patients hoping to avoid the most severe consequences of COVID-19,” said Vir Biotechnology CEO George Scangos. 

Previous trial results showed that the antibody treatment, known as sotrovimab, lowered the risk of hospitalization or death by 79 percent in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 at high risk of developing severe disease. 

The Food and Drug Administration authorized it in May. 

GSK’s announcement on the treatment potentially standing up to omicron comes in contrast with Regeneron’s announcement about its separate antibody treatment. 

Regeneron said in a statement last week that early analyses showed its treatment “may be” less effective against omicron. 

While these antibody treatments are administered through infusions, there is also much hope riding on a new pill from Pfizer. 

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said last week he has a “high level of confidence” the pill will still be effective against omicron.