Greater than 100 medical doctors have written to the Authorities demanding that the NHS funds a Covid drug that shield weak sufferers who don’t reply to the vaccines, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
They’ve been joined by 19 charities to pen a letter to Well being Secretary Steve Barclay arguing that the treatment is a matter of life or demise for Britons with weakened immune methods, similar to these with blood most cancers or an organ transplant.
The transfer comes simply days after the NHS spending watchdog mentioned it would begin evaluating the cost-effectiveness of the £800-a-dose remedy, referred to as Evusheld.
Developed by Covid jab-maker AstraZeneca, it was authorized by drug regulators in March after a examine confirmed it lowered the chance of Covid infections by 80 per cent.
The drug stops Covid cells from binding to wholesome cells, which is the way it infects the physique. Even when these weak, so-called immuno-compromised, sufferers do get contaminated, they’re 50 per cent much less prone to be hospitalised and die in the event that they’ve had Evusheld.
Based mostly on these outcomes, 28 nations, together with France, America and Israel, have snapped up thousands and thousands of doses since January – however the UK Authorities has to this point refused to cowl the fee.
The NHS spending watchdog is about to judge the cost-effectiveness of AstraZeneca’s new Covid drug, Evusheld (pictured)
Since Evusheld was dominated protected by regulators 4 months in the past, as many as 500 immuno-compromised Britons have died, in accordance with evaluation by the charity Blood Most cancers UK shared completely with The Mail on Sunday.
Docs and charities are actually calling on the Authorities to roll out Evusheld to these eligible this autumn, to guard them from the Covid wave anticipated within the winter.
Dr Lennard Lee, a most cancers knowledgeable on the College of Oxford and lead creator of the assertion, mentioned the transfer would profit the NHS in addition to those that get the drug.
‘Evusheld is prone to cut back demand on hospitals, permitting the NHS to recuperate whereas granting immuno-compromised folks the liberty that has been taken from them for 2 years.’
Charities say many immuno-compromised Britons – of which there are considered 500,000 – are nonetheless shielding.
‘Many individuals are anxious and really feel like they’ve been forgotten by the Authorities,’ says Gemma Peters of Blood Most cancers UK.
‘Evusheld has potential to ease nervousness, which is why we’re urging the Authorities to purchase and roll out the drug shortly.’
The Mail on Sunday was first to disclose that well being chiefs had didn’t buy Evusheld a month after its preliminary approval.
On the time, the Division of Well being mentioned additional investigations had been wanted to evaluate its effectiveness towards new Covid variants.
However of their assertion, the medical doctors argue there may be now definitive proof that Evusheld protects the weak from the virus.
On Friday, the Nationwide Institute for Well being and Care Excellence (NICE), the NHS spending watchdog, introduced a two-week session into the prices.
Plenty of MPs have additionally referred to as for well being chiefs to buy Evusheld. Tory MP Bob Blackman mentioned defending the lives of the immuno-compromised should be thought-about a vital a part of the plan to stay with Covid.
‘Evusheld might supply an answer and it’s important that the voice of sufferers and clinicians is heard,’ he added.
One Briton calling for entry to Evusheld is Scott Brigden, 47, from Hedon, East Yorkshire, who was identified with blood most cancers in March 2021. Since then the oil and gasoline employee has been pressured to protect, because the situation and medicines wanted to struggle it have a extreme influence on his immune system.
Scott and his spouse Nikola, 52, haven’t seen any associates or kinfolk since then.
‘The one time I’ve left the home is to stroll the canine,’ says Scott. ‘Our daughter has simply gone to college, and now she has to remain away more often than not.’
Scott believes Evusheld would enable him to renew a extra regular life.
‘It’s onerous sufficient to have a blood most cancers analysis and undergo intense remedy. Figuring out that I’m being denied a remedy that might give me my life again makes the state of affairs even worse.’