The World Health Organization has recommended that an antibody treatment be used for some COVID-19 patients in an update to its coronavirus treatment guidelines.
The recommendation, issued on Friday and based off of experimental trials, encourages the two antibodies produced by Regeneron — casirivimab and imdevimab — be used on COVID-19 patients “who are non-severe and at higher risk for hospitalization.”
In the United States, the antibody treatment is recommended for use in patients with mild to moderate coronavirus cases to prevent a need for hospitalization.
Due to the treatment’s high cost and limited availability, the WHO is negotiating with companies and working with humanitarian organizations to ensure it is produced at lower costs and becomes available to all in need, including in low- and middle-income countries where access to the treatment is difficult.
“Given the high cost and low availability of the combination therapy, UNITAID is negotiating with Roche Pharmaceutical,” the WHO said in a news release, “which is currently manufacturing the drug for lower prices and equitable distribution across all regions, especially in low- and middle-income countries. WHO is also in discussions with the company for a donation and distribution of the drug through UNICEF, following an allocation criteria set by WHO.”