Canadian-made COVID-19 antibody treatment sitting on shelves due to lack of administration plan


A Canadian-made COVID-19 antibody treatment is sitting on hospital and pharmacy shelves amid the country’s third wave of the pandemic because doctors say a plan on how to administer the drug was never made. “It’s actually very frustrating that we have a therapy available to us that we’re not actually able to use,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Deepali Kuma. Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The drug mimics the immune system’s ability to fight off the virus and was developed by AbCellera Biologics Inc. in Vancouver with the support of the federal government, which had committed up to $175.6 million to the company in May 2020 to develop antibody therapies. According to Health Canada, bamlanivimab may prevent symptoms from becoming worse and reduce hospitalizations in high-risk patients who are infected with COVID-19. The one-dose treatment, which is sold by Eli Lilly Canada, Inc., can be used in health-care facilities such as hospitals, as it is given by infusion into the veins of patients.

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