A new treatment for Covid-19 has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed. 

The new treatment, called Xevudy (sotrovimab), cuts death and hospitalisation from Covid-19 by 79 percent based on data from a clinical trial.

On Thursday December 2, Mr Javid tweeted that the government would be monitoring its effectiveness against the new Omicron variant. 

"We'll closely monitor how effective Xevudy is against the Omicron variant and will work on deployment plans with the NHS," Mr Javid said. 

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive said: “I am pleased to say that we now have another safe and effective COVID-19 treatment, Xevudy (sotrovimab), for those at risk of developing severe illness.

“This is yet another therapeutic that has been shown to be effective at protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19, and signals another significant step forward in our fight against this devastating disease.

“With no compromises on quality, safety and effectiveness, the public can trust that the MHRA have conducted a robust and thorough assessment of all the available data.”

It is the second monoclonal antibody therapeutic to be approved, following Ronapreve.

What is monoclonal antibody therapeutic?

Monoclonal antibody therapy is a form of immunotherapy that stimulates the patient's immune system to attack certain cells or proteins.

Who can get this treatment? 

It has been authorised for use in people who have mild to moderate COVID-19 infection and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness such as obesity, people aged 60+, diabetes mellitus, or heart disease.

Sotrovimab is administered by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes. It is approved for individuals aged 12 and above who weigh more than 40kg.

Will it help against the new omicron variant? 

The MHRA has said it is too early to know if the omicron variant has any impact on the treatment's effectiveness but the MHRA will work with the company to establish this.