Vulnerable teenager is one of UK’s first to receive Covid drug

A 17-year-old critically ill Covid patient and TikTok star was one of the first in the UK to receive a groundbreaking antibody treatment at St George’s Hospital approved for use just days earlier.

Max Khadar was the first to be offered the new life-saving drug, Ronapreve, at the hospital in Blackshaw Road, Tooting, on Frday of last week.

Max was born with a heart condition which means he is immunosuppressed, puts him in the high-risk category for Covid-19 and is unable to be vaccinated.

He said: “I feel very thankful, very grateful and, actually, very special to be the first at St George’s and one the first in the UK to receive this treatment.

“I’ve been looked after by the NHS ever since I was born due to my condition, so I’d like to say thank you to all NHS staff for caring for people like me who are vulnerable and need that additional support, particularly at the moment with Covid-19.”

Ronapreve is made up of two monoclonal antibodies and will be offered to vulnerable patients, like Max, who test positive for Covid-19 but are unable to build their own immune response to fight the disease due to being immunosuppressed.

The treatment was approved following results from the Recovery trial which St George’s recruited patients on to. Evidence from the trial showed the treatment reduced hospital stays by four days and risk of death by a fifth.

St George’s chief medical officer, Dr Richard Jennings, said: “Ronapreve reduces the risk of dying for older patients and those who are more vulnerable – and, importantly, it also speeds up recovery time.

“We are very proud to be one of the first hospitals in the UK to roll out this new form of treatment, after having undertaken the Recovery trial at St George’s, too.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, St George’s and St George’s, University of London, have been leaders in Covid-19 research, having undertaken 60 Covid-19 studies and recruited 7019 participants into trials.

Dr Tihana Bicanic, reader and consultant in infectious diseases at St George’s, University of London and St George’s Hospital and principal investigator of the Recovery trial, said: “Recovery has repeatedly shaped and defined how we treat Covid-19 globally, leading to lives saved following positive results for dexamethasone and tocilizumab and, most recently, Ronapreve.

“We are very excited to now be rolling out Ronapreve to our most vulnerable NHS patients.”

Ronapreve is the first neutralising antibody medicine specifically designed to treat Covid-19 to be authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK.

The drug is administered via a drip and works by binding to the virus’ spike protein, stopping it from being able to infect the body’s cells.

Pictured top: Max Khadar

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