The UK government has bought 100,000 doses of a new coronavirus antibody treatment from GlaxoSmithKline.
The treatment will help coronavirus patients and provide extra protection from virus mutations that make vaccines ineffective.
The Department for Health and Social Care has bought 100,000 doses of the sotrovimab treatment, according to The Telegraph.
Regulators have approved the treatment in the US, the EU and Japan but it has to be approved in the UK.
There is a “critical, urgent need to procure and deploy a new class of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that can neutralise any Covid-19 variant,” the government said.
While the need for antibodies was always on the government’s radar, the risk that virus mutations “poses on antibody and vaccine efficacy has only recently been properly identified and still requires further academic studies,” the government said.
The treatment could also protect those who are not vaccinated or those who “cannot mount an appropriate immune response to vaccination.”
The deal is subject to approval while the government did not reveal how much it paid for the doses.
Another antibody treatment, Ronapreve, was rolled out for Covid hospital patients in the UK last month. The treatment – co-developed by Roche and Regeneron – is the only antibody treatment to have received approval from the MHRA.
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: “This latest deal further reflects the UK’s fantastic track record for finding the world’s best Covid-19 treatments – for example, dexamethasone, which has saved tens of thousands of lives in England alone.
“We’ve signed the contract for this novel and promising Covid-19 treatment to strengthen our armoury of therapeutics and to ensure it can be rolled out to patients as quickly as possible, should it be approved by our medicines regulator.
“While the vaccination programme continues to protect millions, it’s vital we keep securing the most cutting-edge treatments for this disease to protect as many people as possible for years to come.”