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NICE U-turn gives kidney patients much needed Covid-19 treatment

22 February 2023

Kidney Research UK has welcomed the revised decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to continue access to sotrovimab (Xevudy) for the treatment of kidney disease patients who are at high risk of progressing to severe Covid-19.

What is sotrovimab?

Manufactured by pharmaceutical company GSK, sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody treatment designed to stop the Covid-19 virus from attaching to and entering human cells.  

Sotrovimab is administered as an IV infusion to treat Covid-19 in those who are at a particularly high risk of the disease.  

After NICE initially indicated that this medication was being withdrawn in January 2023, it has now been confirmed that sotrovimab will remain available to at-risk patients who are unable to take Paxlovid because of interactions with immunosuppressant medications or advanced kidney impairment. 

Vital treatment for at-risk kidney patients

Professor Sunil Bhandari, Kidney Research UK trustee and consultant nephrologist at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust believes that the U-turn spells relief for many patients who faced the prospect of having all treatments that could prevent hospital admission removed. 

Sunil Bhandari
Sunil Bhandari

“NICE’s draft guidance released in January 2023 would have left many kidney disease patients who are already vulnerable to Covid-19 owing to reduced response to vaccination without any appropriate options to prevent hospitalisation and minimise the severity of symptoms due to Covid-19. To have sotrovimab recommended for use by NICE is really good news as it ensures that our most at-risk patients will still have access to an effective treatment should they catch Covid-19. 

“The risks associated with Covid-19 infection remain high for these patients even though for the general public the level and severity of infections has diminished. The knowledge that this crucial treatment option remains available will support this patient group in maintaining some of the freedoms (social, family, physical and mental) enjoyed by those who are well-protected by vaccines.” 

 

Who should be offered sotrovimab?

NICE recommends that sotrovimab should be available for patients who are at high risk of progressing to severe Covid-19 infection and cannot be treated with Paxlovid. Use of Paxlovid is limited in patients who have undergone a transplant due to interactions with immunosuppressant medications and also restricted in individuals with reduced kidney function.   

We are incredibly proud of the hard work that kidney patients and medical experts have put in to provide crucial evidence.  

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