There is a lot of interest and work going on to develop and test treatments that can prevent people from becoming ill with Covid-19. These will be particularly important for people who are immunosuppressed who may not have responded as well to the Covid-19 vaccines.
Many of the drugs in development may offer long-acting protection, which will be very helpful in enabling immunosuppressed people to get back to normal life.
Is the preventative treatment Evusheld available on the NHS?
Evusheld is an antibody therapy developed for the pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) of Covid-19.
The MHRA approved the use of Evusheld to prevent Covid-19 in people whose immune response is poor in March 2022.
On 19 October 2022 it was announced that Evusheld will be available to purchase privately in the UK.
Kidney Care UK was very disappointed that the government has chosen not to purchase Evusheld for NHS use. We know how important and disappointing this is for kidney patients, particularly those who may be less well protected. We are highlighting this to policy makers in all of our conversations and campaigning for the Government to prioritise the development of new treatments that can offer protection against the virus and act quickly to make effective treatments available.
See our 'Evusheld and CKD: your questions answered' information article about the need for protection to live with Covid-19.
Are there any other preventative treatments in the pipeline?
A trial called PROTECT-V is evaluating the benefits of treatments that may prevent Covid-19, including a nasal spray called Niclosamide. They have also added the monoclonal antibody Sotrivomab and another drug, Ciclesonide, to the clinical trial.
In his letter on December 2022 to patient groups, Will Quince MP said the Government “would like to reassure you and your members that we continue to closely monitor the market for new prophylactic options.”
Although lots of work is going on, preventative treatments are not currently in routine use in the UK. It may be that widespread use of these treatments becomes unnecessary, because of Omicron and future variants causing less severe illness which people can recover from on their own.
No treatment is without risk, so there would need to be a careful consideration of the benefits of reducing an already low risk from Covid-19 against the potential harm of giving an additional medication to a person with kidney disease. This is a different risk benefit calculation to giving the medication to someone who already has Covid-19 or giving preventative treatment when the risk of severe illness with Covid-19 is very high.