Published by BBC NEWS - 30th May 2022

Brian and Natalie Platts

Image source, BBC/Helen Mulroy

A couple who have been shielding from Covid-19 since March 2020 are calling on the government to authorise use of a drug for immune-suppressed people.

Kidney transplant patient Brian Platts, 70, from Peterborough, wants access to Evusheld which includes pre-formed antibodies and lasts six months.

He and wife Natalie “feel like the forgotten people” unable to leave home.

The government said the drug had not been approved for the Omicron variant and “further testing” was needed.

Mr Platts had a kidney transplant 10 years ago and has been on immunosuppressant drugs ever since.

Brian Platts at the Colosseum in Rome

Image source, Platts family

Mrs Platts, 55, said they have had “all the vaccines” for Covid-19, but “we haven’t received any assurance he’ll have the antibodies he needs”.

“Our lives have changed completely – we used to go on holiday, we used to go abroad, to restaurants, to pubs, we used to meet friends and family,” she said.

They no longer leave their home at all and only see family in the garden, “so we’re held hostage to the weather”.

Mrs Platts said Evusheld was “approved in this country, it’s just the government hasn’t bought any supplies yet, even though it is in use in France, America, Australia, Canada and that is really frustrating”.

‘Informed decisions’

Evusheld was developed by AstraZeneca for people who are unlikely to be able to mount an immune response to Covid, or for those for whom the normal Covid vaccinations are not recommended.

It was approved for use by the government in March, but was reviewed after the Omicron variant emerged.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “The MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] market authorisation of Evusheld was based on the product’s clinical effectiveness against the Delta variant [of Covid-19] and by the time of its authorisation, Omicron had emerged as the dominant variant.

“The UK Health Security Agency is carrying out further testing on Evusheld’s effectiveness against Omicron.

“We will closely monitor these results, which will inform decisions on next steps including procurement.

“Those most at-risk from Covid are eligible to receive one of our life-saving antivirals if they catch the virus, and the UK has procured more doses per head than any other country in Europe.”

Natalie Platts

Image source, BBC/Helen Mulroy

Mr Platts said: “We feel like the forgotten people really and it’s quite difficult for our families to understand the restrictions that are placed on us.

“If we contracted it, it is likely that I will die because of the lack of protection I have.”

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