Study: Effective antivirals against Omicron

A group of researchers say a lab test shows COVID-19 antiviral drugs are as effective against the Omicron variant as they are against the Delta variant.

The group led by Kawaoka Yoshihiro, a project professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Sciences, published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers tested a number of drugs on cultured cells infected with the Omicron variant. They found that remdesivir and molnupiravir, both approved as antivirals in Japan and other countries, showed the same level of efficacy as the Delta variant in suppressing virus replication.

They say an antibody drug, sotrovimab, retained sufficient efficacy with Omicron, but its response was one-fourteenth the level seen with an early variant.

The researchers were unable to fully confirm the effectiveness of an antibody cocktail, Ronapreve, which the Japanese Ministry of Health advises against for the treatment of people infected with Omicron.

Kawaoka emphasizes the importance of research into the effectiveness of drugs used at clinical sites because the Omicron variant has multiple mutations. He says he wants medical staff to use this study as a benchmark when treating patients.

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