GSK-Vir therapy has neutralizing activity against Omicron sub-variant, data shows

(Reuters) – An antibody-based COVID-19 therapy developed by GSK (GSK.L) and Vir Biotechnology (VIR.O) retains neutralizing activity against the emerging BA.2 form of the Omicron coronavirus variant, according to data from a laboratory study cited by Vir on Thursday.

A GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) logo is seen at the GSK research centre in Stevenage, Britain November 26, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Files

Based on data using a pseudovirus engineered to resemble the variant and extensive pharmacokinetic data, the company said it believed the 500-milligram dose of sotrovimab is sufficient to retain activity against BA.2, which is in line with findings on all other variants of concern and interest.

The U.S. company said it expected to release the data in a preprint ahead of peer review in the coming week, with data against the actual live coronavirus to follow.

The monoclonal antibody therapy, sotrovimab, is authorized for emergency use in the United States. The companies are sharing the latest data with global regulatory authorities, Vir said.

Sotrovimab is one of the few COVID-19 treatments shown to have worked against the extremely contagious Omicron variant, spurring demand. It was among GSK’s top selling offerings in 2021. read more

The company said that its data on performance against the BA.2 form of Omicron stood in contrast to research from another lab.

Researchers from Columbia University published a non-peer reviewed study on Wednesday saying that the emerging form of the Omicron variant showed resistance to nearly all of the monoclonal antibodies they tested, including sotrovimab.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru and Josephine Mason; additional reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Edmund Blair and Bill Berkrot

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