- Over 120 leading clinicians have signed a clinical consensus statement declaring that the Covid-19 protective antibody treatment Evusheld should be used as soon as possible to protect people most vulnerable to Covid-19.
- 19 charities have also written an open letter to Steve Barclay MP, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, urging the Government to provide this drug for people who are immunocompromised which includes people with blood cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, those on anti-cancer treatments, and other conditions.
- Despite the drug being approved by the MHRA and it being used in 26 other countries, the Government has so far refused to buy the potentially life-saving drug from AstraZeneca.
Over 120 clinicians representing 17 different clinical specialities, across all 4 nations, have released a clinical consensus statement saying that there is sufficient evidence that the Covid-19 preventative Evusheld would have clinical benefit to people who are immunocompromised, and a protective antibody treatment program should be delivered as soon as possible. This is the largest known coronavirus clinical expert statement that has been published to date in the United Kingdom.
The statement sets out: the scientific evidence showing the benefits of this treatment, when these treatments should be given, who should be given them and how a rollout should happen, setting a clear roadmap for implementation.
Evusheld is a drug made by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca that is made up of two monoclonal antibodies: cilgavimab and tixagevimab. The treatment was designed for people who are less likely to be well-protected from Covid-19 by vaccines, which can include people who are immunocompromised. Evusheld is a treatment given by injection and gives people antibodies that can destroy Covid-19 for up to six months. Thirty-two other countries including Israel and the US have already bought the drug and are giving it to many people who are immunocompromised.
For many immunocompromised people, the first lockdown in 2020 never ended which is why in addition to the clinical consensus statement, today, 18 charities, including Blood Cancer UK, Kidney Care UK and MS Society, have signed an open letter to Steve Barclay, urging the Government to buy Evusheld to protect the people they represent who remain vulnerable to Covid-19.
Bob Blackman MP and Co-chair of the APPG for Vulnerable Groups, said:
“The number of people being admitted to hospital with coronavirus remains high. As we learn to live with coronavirus, we must also learn to protect immunocompromised people. Protective antibody treatments like Evusheld could offer this solution and it is really important that the voice of patients and clinicians is heard.”
Gemma Peters, CEO of Blood Cancer UK, said:
“Every day we’re hearing stories of people who are still shielding due to their risk of catching Covid. Many people are anxious and feel like they’ve been forgotten by the Government. Evusheld is a drug that has potential to ease anxiety, which is why we’re urging the Government to buy and roll out the drug quickly, as part of a wider Government effort to do more to protect the vulnerable. This would have a positive impact on the quality of life of thousands of people in this country who are immunocompromised.”
Dr Lennard Lee, Academic Lecturer in Oncology at the University of Oxford who led on the statement, said:
“Many immunocompromised patients are more at risk from coronavirus, even following vaccination. Safeguarding these groups with protective antibody treatments like Evusheld will deliver benefits. It is likely to reduce demand on hospitals and the wider healthcare services, allow the NHS to recover, whilst simultaneously allowing immunocompromised people to live their best lives”
Scott Brigden, who is a supporter of Evusheld UK and has mantle cell lymphoma, said:
“For me, my life changes forever when I received my diagnosis in April 2021. Since then, I’ve only left my home for essential trips, and I’ve been distancing myself from my loved ones. My disease means that I’m unlikely to have responded to the Covid-19 vaccines, leaving me highly vulnerable to the virus.
“I’m grateful to the Government for securing post-exposure treatments but I would rather not catch it in the first place and Evusheld would give me added confidence and help me take a step towards becoming an active member of society again.”