Data shows Glaxo drug works against Omicron mutations

Research shows Glaxo’s Covid-19 antibody treatment is effective against the full combination of mutations in the new variant.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said on Tuesday that its Covid-19 antibody-based therapy, developed with Vir Biotechnology in the United States, is effective against all mutations of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, citing new findings from early-stage studies. The data, yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, shows that the companies' treatment, sotrovimab, is effective against all 37 identified mutations to date in the spike protein, GSK said in a statement. Glaxo's comments come amid questions about how much omicron weakens the defenses of existing medications and vaccinations. Its numerous mutations, particularly on the spike protein, which is the target of most treatments, have rattled financial markets around the world. Sotrovimab reduced the risk of hospitalization and death in people with mild to moderate Covid by 79% in trials.

Given the less than three-fold drop in neutralization during tests, “we are confident that sotrovimab will continue to provide significant benefit for the early treatment of patients hoping to avoid the most severe consequences of Covid-19,” said Vir Chief Executive Officer George Scangos. Pre-clinical data released last week revealed that the drug was effective against key mutations in the Omicron variant, but the more recent tests provide more certainty it could hold up against the variant. Sotrovimab is designed to attach to the coronavirus's spike protein, however Omicron has high number of mutations on that protein. GSK and Vir have created so-called pseudo viruses with major coronavirus mutations in all suspicious variants that have surfaced so far and have tested their vulnerability to sotrovimab treatment.