According to the government, the UK will not purchase the medicine Evusheld, which can help prevent Covid infections in those with low immune systems.
The decision, announced on Friday in an official statement to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, has been received with criticism from a number of organizations, who believe it means that many immunocompromised individuals may be forced to shun contact with loved ones for fear of contracting Covid.
“We are extremely sorry to learn that the government has decided not to purchase Evusheld.” “Many members of our community will feel betrayed and vulnerable,” said Helen Rowntree, head of research at Blood Cancer UK. She stated that the organization was requesting that the government explain its reasoning and reconsider the decision.
“Evusheld has been used in nations such the United States and Israel for months now, and there is a substantial body of research suggesting that this treatment can minimize the risk of dying from Covid in individuals who are most susceptible,” Rowntree added. “Today’s judgment means that many immunocompromised persons will have no choice except to separate themselves from their loved ones.”
While immunocompromised persons, such as those with blood cancer or undergoing chemotherapy, have been prioritized for Covid vaccinations, research indicates that they are less likely to generate a significant immune response to the jabs.
The Department of Health and Social Care stated that the decision not to get Evusheld dosages was due to a lack of evidence on the duration of protection provided by therapy in respect to the Omicron version.
“As we live with Covid, we are dedicated to protect the most vulnerable, and immunocompromised individuals are a priority for alternative treatments, free diagnostics, and immunization,” a government spokeswoman stated. “We continue to look for potential medicines that might prevent infection to complement the antibody and antiviral treatments that are now available on the NHS.” We maintain constant contact with all parties involved.
According to Fiona Loud, policy director at Kidney Care UK, more than one in ten individuals who were previously classified as clinically highly vulnerable were still shielding in May.
“We are really saddened to learn that Evusheld will not be considered for persons who have not been adequately protected by the vaccination.” Many people are confused about the decision-making process because of a lack of transparency and communication, and patients are upset after waiting so long to learn if this licensed medicine will be made available. “We ask the government to reconsider,” she stated.
Evusheld is manufactured by AstraZeneca and comprises two long-acting monoclonal antibodies that serve to block the coronavirus from entering cells, hence providing infection protection. In March of this year, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency authorized Evusheld for use in the United Kingdom.
Covid infection levels in the United Kingdom appear to be declining but remain high. Another Covid wave is predicted later this year.
“Despite vaccination and anti-viral treatments, data shows that the immunocompromised group remains the most at risk of dying from Covid, and while infections remain high, it is clear that urgent action is required, particularly for people who feel forgotten as the rest of the country returns to normal,” Loud said. For renal patients, the epidemic is far from done. We need to act now, before the cold months.”
Prof Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London, expressed dismay. “For the millions of clinically fragile people in the UK, the fact that we are already 13 months into ‘independence’ feels like a cruel mockery,” he remarked. “In many nations throughout the world, licensed monoclonals constitute an important part of their safety net.” It’s difficult to say what was the differential evidence evaluation that resulted in such a different outcome for the disadvantaged in the UK.”