A new Covid drug designed to reduce the risk of vulnerable patients needing hospital treatment will be available on the NHS from today.
Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody given as a transfusion to transplant recipients, cancer patients and other high-risk groups. If given quickly after symptoms develop it is should help prevent people from falling seriously ill with the disease.
Initial tests suggest it should still work against the Omicron variant.
"These new drugs have an important role to play," said Prof Steven Powis, the national medical director of NHS England.
"If you test positive and are at high risk then we will be contacting you, and, if eligible, you will be able to get access to these new treatments."
Around 1.3 million of the highest risk NHS patients are eligible to receive Sotrovimab, along with other new Covid treatments as they become available.
The drug is most effective if taken in the first five days after infection and is likely to be given in clinics or to outpatients in hospital.
It has been approved for use in vulnerable groups - such as those with cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
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Source: BBC News, 20 December 2021