Evusheld is a treatment made by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. It is made up of two antibodies that can neutralise Covid-19. It was designed for people who don’t have their own protective antibodies against Covid-19. This includes people with weakened immune systems, who may not produce many protective antibodies even after receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Weakened immune systems can be caused by a health condition itself, or by treatments people are taking for a health condition.

Evusheld is available privately in the UK but the government currently has no plans make it available through the NHS. This is because Rapid C-19, a group of national experts, have given independent clinical advice against it. Real-world data from other countries is still being evaluated and Evusheld has been submitted for a full National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) appraisal, which is currently due in May 2023. It is therefore highly unlikely that Evusheld will be rolled out in the UK before then.

We call on the Government to recognise the concerns of people who are immunosuppressed. Earlier in the pandemic, NICE appraisal processes were fast-tracked. We call for this to happen again so that an earlier decision can be made on Evusheld.

Meanwhile, the NHS should work with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to consider making Evusheld available within a research framework to people who might benefit from it. This would allow the necessary evidence to be rapidly gathered.

Until a decision is made regarding Evusheld, it is important that people with weakened immune systems continue to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses. This is because, even if you don’t produce so many COVID-19 antibodies after having the vaccine, it can still help production of a type of white blood cell (called T-cells) that also play a part in fighting infection.

In addition, the British Society for Rheumatology advises that healthcare teams should continue to identify in clinical records anybody who would be eligible for antiviral treatments in the event of them testing positive for COVID-19.

For references, here is the BSR advice: COVID-19 guidance | British Society for Rheumatology