AN ANTIBODY treatment that could lessen the impact of Covid-19 is to be trialled on patients in UK hospitals.

The Recovery trial, co-ordinated by Oxford University, will assess the impact of giving patients REGN-COV2 alongside usual standard care to see if it lessens the severity of the virus and can reduce deaths.

In June, the Recovery trial, which includes 176 UK hospital sites, found that a cheap steroid called dexamethasone could save the lives of people with severe covid infection.

In the new phase three study, at least 2,000 patients will be randomly allocated to receive the REGN-COV plus usual care, and the results will be compared with at least 2,000 patients not on the therapy.

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It is made up of two man-made antibodies which act like human antibodies in the immune system.

The cocktail of drugs targets two components in the spike protein of the Covid-19 virus with the aim of interrupting its ability to infect.

Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health at the University of Oxford and chief investigator of the trial, said: “We have already discovered that one treatment, dexamethasone, benefits Covid-19 patients, but the death rate remains too high so we must keep searching for others.

“The Recovery trial was specifically designed so that when promising investigational drugs such as REGN-COV2 became available they can be tested quickly.

“We are looking forward to seeing whether REGN-COV2 is safe and effective in the context of a large-scale randomised clinical trial.

“This is the only way to be certain about whether it works as a treatment for Covid-19.”