Blood Cancer UK says Government ‘needs to do more’ amid battle for Evusheld

Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert

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Its name is Evusheld, an antibody treatment with the ability to provide six months of protection to the immunocompromised.

Such is the efficacy of the treatment, countries around the world have been queuing up to buy the drug; the UK’s MHRA approved the drug for official use earlier this year.

Great, but there’s just one problem; the Government hasn’t bought a single dose.

When asked why by, a government spokesperson said: “The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) market authorisation of Evusheld was based on the product’s clinical effectiveness against the Delta variant, and by the time of its authorisation, Omicron had emerged as the dominant variant.”

A statement which appears substantial, but omits one crucial detail; Evusheld works against Omicron.

Tests carried out by the University of Oxford found Evusheld was effective against all variants of Omicron, including BA.4 and BA.5, the two sub-variants of the virus causing new waves of COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations.

The Government spokesperson added: “The UK Health Security Agency is carrying out further testing on Evusheld’s effectiveness against Omicron. We will closely monitor these results, which will inform decisions on next steps including procurement.”

As a result, there is confusion from organisations representing the immunocompromised such as Blood Cancer UK.

In response to the government’s statement to they issued a response.

CEO of Blood Cancer UK Gemma Peters said: “For some time, we have been urging the Government to set out its approach to using preventative treatments for people who have not responded well to the vaccines, and it is disappointing that it has not yet done so.

“The treatment is already available to immunocompromised people in the United States and other countries but immunocompromised people in the UK are waiting for the Government to confirm whether it plans to use it and, if so, how many doses it will buy.

“Many people with blood cancer have now spent almost two years avoiding social interaction – the Government needs to do more to support them to be able to start getting back to normal. The Government, and the MHRA are currently saying that they’re waiting on further research to understand how well the treatment works against Omicron.

“However, there is significant published research showing the treatment is effective against Omicron, and there has been for many weeks.”

Peters added they were “urging the Government to set out their timeline for buying and rolling out the drug”.

What is important to note is, outside of tete-a-tetes, there are lives at stake.

For over two years around half a million Britons have had to shield from a threat they cannot touch, or taste, but which could kill them.

Miranda Scanlon, an immunocompromised patient with kidney disease, told the Express how she has had to write letters to her children in case she caught Covid and died.

By buying Evusheld, the Government would literally be setting people free, would literally be giving them their lives back.

While the majority of the public are living restriction free, there are still those who must tread careful steps in order to avoid serious ill-health.

These people live in the knowledge another vaccine booster will do little to help them.

As Omicron cases rise, these trapped patients face more months of isolation under the threat of viral devastation.

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