Lifesaving COVID-19 drug supplies boosted

·1-min read

Australia has boosted its supplies of a life-saving antibody treatment for COVID-19 shown to slash hospitalisation rates.

More than 15,000 additional doses of GlaxoSmithKline's sotrovimab have arrived in the country over recent days.

It has been shown to reduce hospitalisation or death in patients with mild or moderate infections and who are at high risk of severe illness.

Australia is also in advanced discussions with US pharmaceutical company Merck and Co about supplies of antiviral drug molnupiravir, which has been shown to drastically reduce hospitalisation rates.

Should it be approved, Health Minister Greg Hunt hopes supplies could be brought forward to the first half of next year.

"It means the vaccinations and the treatments all help provide safety and they will bring us closer to reopening," he told 3AW radio on Monday.

Sotrovimab is administered through an intravenous infusion and needs to be given within five days of symptoms developing.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration granted provisional approval for the use of sotrovimab in August.

It is estimated between eight and 15 per cent of adults with COVID-19 will be recommended the drug.

Australia had increased its order to more than 31,000 doses. Final deliveries are expected to arrive throughout the remainder of the year.

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