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Monoclonal antibody treatment reduced deaths in hospitalized COVID patients

July 13, 2022

Aurora, Colo. (July 13, 2022) – A monoclonal antibody treatment taken by patients hospitalized with COVID-19 reduced deaths, according to a recent study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, though recovery time was unchanged.

The therapy, tixagevimab/cilgavimab (also known as Evusheld), was developed and deployed quickly in response to the pandemic. There are currently known effective antiviral treatments for patients with mild COVID-19 to prevent hospitalization, but there are limited proven effective treatments for patients who are hospitalized with severe infections.

“We mobilized for the sake of public health and for the sake of the community. We offer these clinical trials to patients at UCHealth in the hospitalized setting where there’s limited treatment options. This gives patients hope and access to the most promising treatments through clinical trials,” said study co-lead author Dr. Adit Ginde, and emergency department physician at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (UCH).

Data was analyzed as part of an international NIH-sponsored clinical trial. The phase 3 placebo-controlled trial included 1,455 patients and took place at 81 sites on four continents. UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital was selected to participate in the study and enrolled 29 participants.

Patients were randomized and infused with tixagevimab/cilgavimab or a placebo, in addition to remdesivir and other standard care. By day 90, sustained recovery was achieved by 87% of people who were given tixagevimab/cilgavimab and 84% of placebo group participants. But most strikingly, mortality dropped by 30% for patients who received the monoclonal antibody treatment.

“One out of every three patients who would have died without the treatment survived after receiving the treatment,” said Dr. Ginde, who is also a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “That’s a remarkable signal for benefit and suggests that this and other similar treatments may save lives in patients with severe COVID-19.”

Juan Wulff, a participant in the study at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, was admitted to the hospital after collapsing and having trouble breathing. He spent more than two weeks at UCH. He’s battled cancer multiple times in his life, and he knew this would be another fight for his life battling COVID-19.

“I am so thankful this team came to me and asked me to participate in the trial. I initially declined, but as I started to deteriorate and feel worse, when they came back around I decided to go for it. I truly believe this drug saved my life, and I’m convinced I received the drug and not the placebo,” Wulff said.

As researchers and providers work to adapt to COVID variants, there is hope that adding new tools in the toolbox will help treat patients severely impacted by the virus.

To read more about the study findings, click here.