PRAGUE, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The Czech Republic, hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, has ordered 12,000 doses of an antibody treatment made by Regeneron ahead of its registration by European authorities and will start receiving it in March, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Saturday.
Czech authorities are close to clearing emergency use of Regeneron’s cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab, which was authorised for emergency use in the United States in November, and was given to then U.S. president Donald Trump during his COVID-19 infection.
“We have managed to order Regeneron,” Babis said on Twitter. “In total, 12,000 doses. Four thousand will come in March, the same in April and May.”
The treatment is aimed at patients with mild to moderate disease who are at risk of their condition worsening.
COVID-19 antibody therapies, by Regeneron and rival Eli Lilly, are given through one-time intravenous infusion and require patients to be isolated. This complexity has led to lackluster demand for the drugs.
The Czech Republic has also granted emergency approval to Eli Lilly’s therapy and ordered 500 doses.
Europe’s drugs regulator EMA said on Feb. 4 it was reviewing data on both therapies for use in some patients. Italy has given emergency-use approval to the two therapies.
The Czech Republic, a country of 10.7 million, has reported 19,097 deaths. Daily infections have risen to over 10,000 in the past days, leading to the highest two-week incidence in Europe according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control data.
The country has administered 538,448 vaccines, which includes 204,795 people who have received both doses as of Friday, Health Ministry data showed. The figures put the Czechs below the European average, according to www.ourworldindata.org. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Giles Elgood)