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Coronavirus

European Agency Studying New COVID-19 Treatment

LONDON — The European Medicines Agency says it has begun an accelerated authorization process for an experimental coronavirus treatment made by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir BioTechnology.

In a statement on Friday, the EU drug regulator said it had started a rolling review of sotrovimab, based on early results from an ongoing study into whether the treatment can prevent hospitalization or death in people who don’t yet have severe COVID-19. But EMA said it had not yet received the complete data and cautioned that “it is too early to draw any conclusions about the benefit-risk balance of the medication.”

Although the EMA has given the green light to four vaccines, there are few licensed treatments for the coronavirus, especially any that might prevent people with mild COVID-19 from progressing to severe disease.

Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody, a lab-produced antibody that is intended to stimulate the immune system by reducing the ability of the coronavirus’s spike protein to enter the body’s cells.

An emergency use authorization for sotrovimab has also been submitted to regulators in the U.S. and Canada.

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