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As the Omicron variant continues to spread around the world, researchers are working to identify therapies that can prevent infections or reduce the risk of serious infections. This morning, GlaxoSmithKline early research shows that his monoclonal antibody is demonstrating its effectiveness against the most recent strain of COVID-19.
This morning, GSK and its partner Vir Biotechnology announced that preclinical tests show that sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody cleared for use in mild to moderate COVID-19 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK government, is effective against Omicron. The companies said the data shows that sotrovimab retains activity against key mutations in the new strain, including those found in the binding site of the monoclonal antibody treatment.
George Scangos, Ph.D., CEO of Vir Biotechnology, said that when developing sotrovimab, scientists at the company kept potential mutations in the virus in mind.
“By targeting a highly conserved region of the spike protein that is less likely to mutate, we hoped to fight both the current SARS-CoV-2 virus and future variants that we thought were inevitable,” Scangos said in a report. communicated. “This hypothesis has been confirmed time and time again, with its continued ability to maintain activity against all of the variants tested of concern and interest to date, including key mutations found in Omicron, as evidenced by preclinical data. We expect this positive trend to continue and we are working quickly to confirm its activity against Omicron’s full combination sequence. “
GSK’s head of R&D, Hal Barron, MD, said these early preclinical results support the two companies’ view that sotrovimab will be able to maintain its efficacy against emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2. Barron, also scientific director, said he was satisfied with the results of tests against Omicron, a treatment option that can help patients infected with the virus. He noted that companies are working to expand the availability of sotrovimab around the world.
To date, sotrovimab has demonstrated continued activity against all of the tested variants of concern and of interest as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), GSK said this morning. GSK and Vir complete in vitro pseudo-virus tests which should confirm the neutralizing activity of sotrovimab against the combination of all Omicron mutations. The companies hope to provide an update on these tests by the end of 2021.
In November, the US government announced its intention to acquire $ 1 billion of sotrovimab. GSK is expected to respond to the supply of the monoclonal antibody by December 17.
In addition to its ongoing research against COVID-19, GSK also continues to target another deadly infectious disease, HIV. The company, soon to be split into two business units, hopes to develop a cure for HIV within the next eight years by 2030. Bloomberg reported, the company presented its target at an investor conference last month.
Kimberly Smith, MD, Head of Research and Development at HIV-focused ViiV Health, established through a partnership of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Shinogi Limited, said the company aims to have a cure for the disease by 2030. In a previous interview with BioSpaceSmith highlighted advances in HIV treatment and pointed to some successes in two patients who became HIV-free through rigorous treatment options. She said it showed what is possible on the pitch.
Also this week, GSK and the University of Oxford entered into a five-year collaboration to accelerate research and development of new drugs. The collaboration forms the Oxford-GSK Institute for Molecular and Computational Medicine, which will build on advances in genetics, functional genomics and machine learning.
With an initial focus on neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, the institute will evaluate new approaches in genetics, proteomics, and digital pathology to understand detailed disease patterns that vary from year to year. patient to another. These diseases include multiple sclerosis, frontal temporal dementia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The new institute was supported by an investment of almost $ 40 million from GSK. The progress made by the institute will benefit GSK’s own drug development programs that harness data about genetically informed drug targets generated by its collaborations with 23andMe and UK Biobank.