The World Health Organization (WHO) no longer recommends two COVID-19 antibody treatments, claiming that Omicron and the variant's most recent offshoots have rendered them outdated.
The two medications, which act by attaching to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to inhibit the virus's capacity to infect cells, were among the first to be developed during the epidemic.
The virus has since changed, and accumulating evidence from laboratory studies suggests that the two medicines - sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab - have limited clinical effectiveness against the virus's most recent incarnations. As a result, they have fallen out of favor with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
As part of a set of recommendations published in the British Medical Journal on Thursday, WHO experts stated they strongly discouraged the use of the two medicines in patients with COVID-19, reversing earlier conditional recommendations favoring them.
Sotrovimab, a medicine manufactured by GSK and its partner Vir Biotechnology and worth billions of dollars in sales, was taken off the US market in April by the FDA.
The WHO's realization is a little tardy given that the United States had already begun to question sotrovimab's clinical efficacy against Omicron as early as February, according to Penny Ward, a visiting professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King's College London.
Regeneron and partner Roche's antibody combination casirivimab-imdevimab has also produced billions of dollars in sales and was one of the top sellers for the U.S. drugmaker last year.
The FDA amended its stance on the medication in January, limiting its usage to a smaller group of patients due to its decreased potency against the Omicron type.
The European drugs regulator continues to approve both treatments for usage.
Gilead's antiviral remdesivir was another COVID medication that surfaced early in the pandemic. The WHO expanded its conditional recommendation for the medicine, saying that it can be used in both severe COVID patients and non-severe COVID patients who are at high risk of hospitalization.
There are a few COVID therapies that are still beneficial in the fight against the virus, as well as others in development that are predicted to aid patients.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released a video commercial urging individuals to obtain the latest COVID-19 booster shot, particularly those aged 50 and higher.
The latest video promo from the public education campaign, titled "At Risk," was launched Thursday and reads, "9 out of 10 COVID deaths were people over 50" and "vaccines lower the risk of death," as music plays in the background. "Get your updated COVID vaccine now."