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UK approves COVID-19 prevention drug

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The UK’s health regulator has approved an antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron and Roche to prevent and treat COVID-19.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says the drug Ronapreve can help prevent infection, help resolve symptoms of severe COVID-19 and reduce the chances of hospitalisation.

“This treatment will be a significant addition to our armoury to tackle COVID-19,” British health minister Sajid Javid said in a statement on Friday.

Ronapreve can be taken via injection or infusion. It binds tightly to the coronavirus at the lining of the respiratory system and prevents it from gaining access to cells of the respiratory system, the MHRA said.

Ronapreve belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies which mimic natural antibodies produced by the body to fight off infections.

The drug is not intended to be used as a substitute for vaccination, the MHRA said.

Last month Japan became the first country to approve Ronapreve to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 infections.

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