Washington, Nov 22 (AFP/APP):US drug regulators gave emergency approval to a Covid-19 antibody therapy on Saturday and G20 nations pushed for global access to vaccines as the pandemic led to further closures in parts of the world.
With cases surpassing 12 million in the United States, the highest in the world, many Americans were nonetheless heading to airports to travel for next week’s Thanksgiving holiday despite health officials’ warnings to stay home.
Some US states were imposing new restrictions, including California, where a 10 pm to 5 am curfew was taking effect.
On the opposite side of the Atlantic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce that restrictions across England are to end on December 2 as planned, his office said.
But the lockdown will be followed by a return to a three-tiered set of regional curbs.
Britain has suffered more than any other country in Europe from the coronavirus, with more than 54,000 deaths from 1.4 million cases.
In the Middle East, Iran announced it had shut non-essential businesses in over half its cities and towns for up to two weeks and introduced movement restrictions.
The antibody therapy approval in the United States offers some hope for those infected, though a relatively small number of doses will be available in the coming weeks.
The same therapy was used to treat President Donald Trump when he was sickened with the virus.
The green light for drugmaker Regeneron came after REGEN-COV2, a combination of two lab-made antibodies, was shown to reduce Covid-19-related hospitalizations or emergency room visits in patients with underlying conditions.
“Authorizing these monoclonal antibody therapies may help outpatients avoid hospitalization and alleviate the burden on our health care system,” said Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.
Regeneron’s antibody treatment is the second synthetic antibody treatment to receive an emergency use approval (EUA) from the FDA after a similar therapy developed by Eli Lilly was granted the status on November 9.
The company said it expects to have doses ready for 80,000 patients by the end of November and approximately 300,000 patients in total by the end of January 2021.
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