KAWARTHA LAKES-On August 24th, 2021 the White House’s Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, stated monoclonal antibodies are a “much underutilized intervention” for COVID-19.
One brand, called Sotrovimab, was authorized for use in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada on July 30, 2021.
Health Canada says authorization of sotrovimab under the COVID-19 Interim Order is based on analyses of a randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical study of sotrovimab administered to outpatients diagnosed with mild to moderate COVID-19 illness. The study determined the efficacy of sotrovimab in reducing the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and/or all-cause death in patients who were considered to be at high-risk of hospitalization due to progression of COVID-19. According to Health Canada there was a “statistically significant reduction in the number of hospitalizations and/or deaths among treated patients compared to those who received placebo was demonstrated.”
Fauci encouraged hospitals and physicians in the United States to make greater use of the life-saving therapy.
“We want people out there, including physicians as well as potential patients, to realize the advantage of this very effective way of treating early infection,” Dr. Fauci said. “Clinical trials have demonstrated that early treatment with anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies can reduce the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or death by 70 [percent] to 85 percent.”
With a track record of success almost equal to vaccination, one would think monoclonal antibodies would be readily available in Canada. We contacted the Ontario Ministry of Health to find out if Sotrivimab was being used in the province.
“The federal government, through the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), has been in discussion with the manufacturer about the supply of this product for Canada.” Bill Campbell Media Relations with the Ministry of Health told Kawartha 411 News. “Inquiries regarding Sotrovimab at this time should be directed to the PHAC.”
So we contacted the Public Health Agency of Canada. (PHAC)
“We invite you to contact our colleagues at Health Canada.” PHAC said. “They are in a better position to address these questions.”
We contacted Health Canada.
“Public Services and Procurement Canada is responsible for COVID vaccines and treatment orders. Please contact them directly re: Sotrovimab.” said Health Canada.
Public Services and Procurement told us to contact Health Canada.
We also contacted one of the doctors at University Health Network in Toronto who is on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. Dr Isaac Bogoch is regularly called upon by many Canadian media outlets to provide commentary on vaccines and case counts. We wanted to know if UHN was utilizing life-saving monoclonal antibodies. We sent two emails but have not yet had a response.
Health Canada’s approval of the treatment states one dose is effective. The rates of adverse events (AEs) and serious AEs were lower in patients who received sotrovimab compared to those who received placebo. The most important adverse reactions associated with sotrovimab treatment are infusion-related reactions, hypersensitivity reactions and anaphylactic reactions. These types of reactions are of concern for monoclonal antibodies in general, but were observed rarely in all phases of the ongoing clinical study according to Health Canada.
It’s still unclear whether this treatment is being used anywhere in Ontario or Canada.
Another brand of monoclonal antibodies called Bamlanivimab was authorized for use in Canada in November 2020. In April 2021 it was found to be ineffective for the Delta Variant. Sotrovimab however is affected against the Delta variant.