A PREVENTATIVE drug could cut the risk of care home residents catching Covid by 80 per cent, according to a new study.
The US research found using bamlanivimab helped stop the disease getting worse for already infected OAPs.
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It also appeared to slash the spread of the virus to more vulnerable residents and care workers.
Among a group of 299 residents without Covid four died due to coronavirus, with all of those not having been given bamlanivimab.
Developed by Eli Lilly, the drug – which works to stop the virus from being able to infect human cells – reduced patients picking up the bug and later ending up in hospital.
Of the 299 residents who initially tested negative, only four who hadn’t been given the preventative drug later died from coronavirus.
And out of 41 elderly people who tested positive for Covid and then received a shot of bamlanivimab, there were no deaths reported.
This is compared to four deaths seen in the group who already had the disease and were given a placebo.
Early in the pandemic in the UK a staggering number of initial deaths were in care homes, as the virus rapidly spread.
Carers were forced to move in with their residents and banned families from visiting.
Prof Daniel Altmann, Department of Immunology and Inflammation, Imperial College London, said: “This is a big result when one considers the massively disproportionate disease burden and fatalities around the world in care-homes.
“So, good news. Since the antibody might stay in the system for a few months, this offers a means of seeing vulnerable groups through a high risk period.”
Professor Chris Butler, Professor of Primary Care, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Services, University of Oxford, and Co-Lead of the Principle Trial, hailed the study,
He said: “This is tremendous news, in that nursing home residents and residents of long term care facilities have been hardest-hit by the pandemic and here we have an intervention that may well prevent the illness, as well as possibly be useful as an early treatment, in both staff and residents.”
It comes as Covid killed half of a care home's residents over Christmas as a boss raised fears the elderly and staff are "sitting ducks" for catching the bug.
Thirteen of 27 residents at Edendale Lodge care home in Crowhurst, East Sussex died with confirmed or suspected Covid since December 13.
More than a third of staff tested positive during the outbreak in which residents passed away on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.
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