Laboratory analysis of the antibody-based COVID-19 therapy GlaxoSmithKline is developing with U.S. partner Vir has indicated the drug is effective against the new Omicron variant, the British drugmaker said on Thursday.
A GSK statement said that lab tests and a study on hamsters have demonstrated the sotrovimab antibody cocktail works against viruses that were bio-engineered to carry a number of hallmark mutations of the Omicron variant.
The two companies have been engineering so-called pseudoviruses that feature major coronavirus mutations across all suspicious variants that have emerged so far, and have run lab tests on their vulnerability to sotrovimab treatment.
An analysis of past tests has now yielded the preliminary clearance for the drug, because Omicron’ main mutations have been found across a variety of previous variants.
“We’ve been carefully following every mutation that might be important,” said Herbert Virgin, Vir’s Chief Scientific Officer.
“With this new variant, the mutations that we have tested so far have no significant effect on sotrovimab,” he added.
“Sotrovimab was deliberately designed with a mutating virus in mind,” said Vir Chief Executive George Scangos, adding that the drug was targeting a region of the spike protein that was highly unlikely to mutate.