WHO calls for equitable access to casirivimab and imdevimab for COVID-19

ACT-A partners are also working with WHO on an equitable access framework for recommended COVID-19 therapeutics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the addition of another therapeutic to the world’s arsenal against COVID-19, but urges the producing company and governments to address the high price and limited production of the Regeneron antibody combination and ensure safe and appropriate handling of the medicine.

Given the high cost and low availability of the combination therapy, WHO calls on Regeneron to lower prices and distribute it equitably across all regions, especially in low- and middle-income countries; and transfer the technology to allow for the manufacturing of biosimilar versions so all patients who may need this treatment have access to it.

In parallel, WHO has also launched a call to manufacturers who may wish to submit biosimilar versions for pre-qualification, which would allow for a ramping up of production and therefore greater availability of the treatment and expanded access.

ACT-A partners are also working with WHO on an equitable access framework for recommended COVID-19 therapeutics.

In addition, there are feasibility challenges linked to the antibodies, such as the requirement for intravenous administration for out-patients.

When intravenous administration is required, specialized clinics will need adequate amounts of the antibodies, as well as trained staff to ensure safe and effective administration of the drug.

WHO warns that in order not to exacerbate health inequity and limited availability of the therapy, patients who are seropositive (those who have natural antibodies against COVID-19) not be given the treatment. 

Clinicians must also identify severe or critically ill patients with seronegative status (those who have not developed natural antibodies against COVID-19 and who stand to benefit most from the treatment) through accurate tests available at the point of care. 

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