Covid: France has approved two monoclonal antibody therapies

Published by Laurent P., Caroline J., Elodie D. · Published on 16 March 2021 at 11h38
This Monday March 15, the Agence du Médicament (French Medicines Agency) announced that two monoclonal antibody therapies, namely REGN-COV2 and Eli Lilly laboratory's therapy based on bamlanivimab and etesevimab were now approved in France.

As coronavirus vaccination is expected to speed up in France, the search for Covid therapy is still necessary to prevent hospitalizations. Monoclonal antibodies seem to have made a good start towards this scientific race. After Germany – that ordered 200,000 doses of product for clinical experimentations – France will test this therapy as well.

This Monday March 15, the ANSM announced they have allowed the use of two monoclonal antibody-based therapies. Two "very innovative therapies" that have been already addressed this past February 25 by Olivier Véran during a press conference: The National Medicine Safety Agency has agreed with what we call temporary authorization of use of monoclonal antibodies to limit severe disease risks in people whose condition expose them to particularly high risksVéran explained.

He went on and added: “France ordered dozens of thousands of doses” of this monoclonal antibodies. “Some 83 hospital centers are ready to begin the treatment, with caution, initially for patients aged 80 and over, and those with immunity disorders”.

Véran also confirmed news shared by Le Point stating the Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament (National Medicine Safety Agency – ANSM) was to soon grant temporary authorization of use (TAU) to monoclonal antibodies, yet this authorization is to be only granted to “people with the highest risks of developing severe infection, specifically patients highly immunocompromised” for who the advantage-risk ratio is the biggest.

The principle of this therapy is to imitate immune response by recreating antibodies’ action, blocking the virus in the body like a sort of “passive vaccination”. Given intravenously within three to five days after first onset symptoms, they enable to prevent complications, including hospitalization.

What are the two therapies, then? As already explained by Haute Autorité de Santé transparency commission president Pierre Cochat, the two therapies considered are Eli Lilly – including bamlanivimab and etesevimab – and Regeneron – including casirivimab and imdevimab. Both treatments cost a lot – about €2,000 per dose – but a day in ICU generally costs about €3,000 in Île-de-France.

Besides, other treatments are still being developed and lead to more or less encouraging results. For instance, many people are expecting Pharma & Beauty nasal spray, but it will not be marketed yet because the ANSM is still waiting for scientific data enabling to assess its effectiveness against the virus.

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