So-called monoclonal antibodies, which are administered by injection or infusion in the hospital, have so far helped to alleviate the symptoms of Covid-19 in numerous risk patients or sick people treated in hospital. Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins that help the immune system fight Covid-19.
The most important antibody-based corona drugs include Evusheld from the British pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca, Ronapreve from the French group Roche and Xevudy, developed by the British company GlaxoSmithKline and the US company Vir.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had already recommended in September to stop using Xevudy and Ronapreve because they were no longer effective against new variants.
The EMA has now stated that the antibodies of these drugs also "did not significantly neutralize strains BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, which are expected to become the dominant subvariants in the EU in the coming weeks".
According to the EMA, however, antiviral drugs such as Paxlovid from pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer should remain effective. EU member states should therefore set up a stockpile for high-risk patients.
The Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus has evolved into numerous variants since it appeared in China at the end of 2019. While earlier "variants of concern" such as alpha and delta eventually died down, the omicron variant and its subtypes have dominated infection activity throughout 2022.