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UPDATE 1-EU regulator backs use of GSK-Vir antibody to treat COVID-19

(Adds detail, GSK-Vir statement, background)

May 21 (Reuters) - The European Union’s drug regulator said on Friday a COVID-19 antibody treatment developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology can be used to treat patients who are at risk of severe disease and do not need supplemental oxygen.

The opinion relates to the use of the treatment, sotrovimab, in adults and adolescents aged 12 years or older and weighing at least 40 kilograms.

“Based on our most recent in vitro data, sotrovimab continues to combat COVID-19 as it evolves and has retained activity against all circulating variants of concern,” Vir Chief Executive George Scangos said in a joint statement with GSK.

Interim data from a study of the experimental therapy showed 85% reduction in hospitalization and deaths among COVID-19 patients, GSK and Vir had said.

The rolling review of the drug is ongoing, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said.

Similar therapies from Eli Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have received recommendations from U.S. and European health regulators earlier this year.

Antibody treatments are designed to decrease the severity of COVID-19 among patients diagnosed with the infection.

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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