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Covid 19: Outrage as NHS is blocked from treating vulnerable patients with Evusheld

Outrage among patients as NHS can’t supply Covid medication to vulnerable patients not protected by vaccines

  • Evusheld can protect patients with diseases such as blood cancer
  • The drug could help those who don’t get protection from Covid vaccines
  • Experts believe as many as 500,000 Britons could benefit from Evusheld

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Health leaders were sentenced last night after refusing to approve a drug that protects vulnerable patients – including those with blood cancers – who do not respond to Covid vaccines.

Ministers were ready to roll out the medication Evusheld last month, at the urging of NHS specialists.

But on Friday, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced that there was “insufficient data” that the drug offered long-term protection against the Omicron variant, and the health regulator asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to investigate. It is not expected to issue guidance until April next year.

Doctors reacted furiously, arguing that multiple studies have shown that Evusheld – developed by AstraZeneca and also known as cilgavimab – is effective in preventing hospitalization and death from Covid. Data also shows that it can withstand newer variants, such as Omicron.

NHS doctors wanted to start treating vulnerable patients with Evusheld, which protects against Covid-19

NHS doctors wanted to start treating vulnerable patients with Evusheld, which protects against Covid-19

Patients, such as those who have had organ transplants, are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 because vaccines are less effective

Patients, such as those who have had organ transplants, are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 because vaccines are less effective

Patients, such as those who have had organ transplants, are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 because vaccines are less effective

As many as 500,000 Britons would benefit from Evusheld – the majority have blood cancer or an organ transplant, both of which weaken the immune system and drastically limit the protection offered by Covid shots. One patient group said it had received numerous calls from distraught patients who had been foreclosure for more than two years.

Some, they claim, have become suicidal because of the news.

dr. Lennard Lee, a cancer expert at the University of Oxford and lead author of an independent analysis of Evusheld, said: ‘We don’t know who was on the team advising the government, and we don’t know what evidence they looked at.

“This call was made behind closed doors and it’s all very strange.

The UK is at odds with the world over this decision. The 32 countries that have approved this drug have not seen any problems.

“If the government knows something that the rest of the medical community doesn’t, they should disclose it.” Just two weeks ago, The Mail on Sunday unveiled a clinical consultation that analyzed all publicly available data on the drug and concluded that Evusheld should be rolled out in the UK.

It was signed by more than 100 NHS doctors and called on ministers to buy the drug at a dose of £800 per dose.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today program yesterday, former health secretary Andrew Lansley indicated that talks between health chiefs and AstraZeneca had reached contract stage ahead of Friday’s apparent U-turn.

Lord Lansley expressed surprise at the move, saying approval was ‘expected’. “The effectiveness of Evusheld is something we can see day by day as it is being rolled out in other countries,” he added.

According to the charity Blood Cancer UK, as many as 500 so-called immunocompromised Britons have died from Covid since regulators approved Evusheld for use in March.

“Our members are devastated,” said Mark Oakley, co-leader of campaign group Evusheld For The UK.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had some at the breaking point who said they were suicidal. This is the stark reality of this decision.

“What makes this worse is the bizarre turnaround that seems to have taken place, with the government suggesting one minute they were getting ready to roll out Evusheld and the next saying there wasn’t enough evidence.”

However, there are suggestions that the decision is not final. According to a DHSC spokesperson, Health Minister Steve Barclay has asked his officials to meet again with experts from British manufacturer AstraZeneca in the coming days to determine whether any real data on Evusheld’s effectiveness has emerged.

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