An update on Evusheld

21 June 2022

Coronavirus is still understandably causing a lot of anxiety for many of our members and we would like to express that we understand and are here to provide support to you. NRAS strive to remain up to date with research developments in this area and draw on the expert knowledge of our medical advisory board to guide us in our actions and information resources.

As we move forward it is important to remember that the nature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus variants have changed over the course of the pandemic. At present the COVID-19 strains which are dominant in the UK have been associated with less severe disease duration and clinical outcomes.  The clinical research undertaken at the start of the pandemic was dominated by virus strains which had higher levels of severity on clinical outcomes. Additionally, early research was conducted prior to the rollout of the vaccination programme which will have been an influencing factor.

The improved outcomes for individuals now compared to earlier in the pandemic has anecdotally proven true for patients with RA and adult JIA who have contracted and successfully recovered from the virus, and experience little to no ongoing issues. As with the general population there will be a minority of patients who experience the virus worse than others however, the majority of individuals will not require additional treatment or support to combat the virus. Ongoing research continues to add to our understanding of the virus, vaccinations and treatments for the various stains and government leaders continue to be guided by the findings of this research.

However, there is still a need to be vigilant and proactive in managing the risk of infection which should be done with the support of your rheumatology team.

AstraZeneca’s new prophylactic treatment “Evusheld” has become a spotlight issue for patients and stakeholders but as yet little is known about its proposed rollout following its approval in the UK. Following conclusions of an independent advisory committee regarding the definitions highest-risk clinical subgroups, the government has established a clinical policy committee. This body is utilising all available data to drive their recommendations on policies around anti-viral and monoclonal therapies, including the Evusheld treatment.

We would like to reassure our members that NRAS is monitoring the situation closely and will provide an update reflecting the guidance of this clinical policy committee with regards to the best practice clinical care of vulnerable patient populations when it is rendered.