By Mary Kangley
GlaxoSmithKline’s drug, Xevudy (sotrovimab), and Pfizer’s PAXLOVID (ritonavir) are the two most discussed antiviral treatment options discussed online among healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of patients with the Omicron variant, a study shows.
Analysis of over 149,000 Twitter mentions of the Omicron variant by 26,700 healthcare professionals from across the world between 23 November to 14 December 2021 shows 368 mentions of GSK’s Xevudy alongside the Omicron variant followed by Pfizer’s PAXLOVID with 340 mentions. MSD’s antiviral drug, Lagevrio, followed with the 276 mentions.
Positive clinical trial data regarding the efficacy of Xevudy and PAXLOVID has driven positive mentions of the drugs in relation to the treatment of patients with the Omicron variant.
Preclinical data from bioRxiv in early December demonstrating sotrovimab’s retained activity against all tested variants of concern, including key mutations of Omicron, drove an initial spike on 2 December 2021. A second spike in positive mentions came a little over a week later with the news that the MHRA had approved the drug for treatment in the UK after it found it could cut rates of hospitalisation and death by 79 per cent.
Most recently, results suggesting ritonavir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 per cent compared to placebo in non-hospitalized high-risk adults with COVID-19 drove a third spike in positive mentions.
Examples of clinicians disseminating positive information surrounding the efficacy of existing treatment options include Dr. Faheem Younus, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland, who reassured the public that existing antiviral treatments would be unaffected by mutations to the spike protein. Meanwhile, others, such as physician-scientist, author, and editor, Eric Topol, shared the results of specific studies with their respective audiences.
The analysis also revealed where the current online Omicron conversation among healthcare professionals (HCPs) is originating. 30 per cent (32,900 posts) was from the USA, while around one-fifth was from the UK (19,300 posts) and 8,500 is from HCPs in Canada.
“The emergence of the Omicron variant is the latest chapter in the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Social media analysis is helping public health decision makers to gain vital feedback from healthcare professionals and patients alike in real time.
“The nature and scale of the crisis we face means some cutting-edge medicines must be expedited through the approval process to ensure they get to the frontlines in the war against COVID-19 quicker than they otherwise would. Social media offers us an invaluable safety measure. It enables healthcare officials and drug developers to gain insights into new treatments as they’re deployed.
“Used correctly, it’s also providing a tool to monitor and assess how the virus is changing and adapting across the globe. Social media analysis is proving to be an invaluable weapon in our struggle to overcome this pandemic.”
CREATION.co provides insights and consulting to inform health strategy, communications, and policymaking among some of the world’s largest healthcare companies, government organisations and NGOs.
This is made possible through CREATION Pinpoint®, the world’s only AI-powered global database of more than 3 million healthcare professionals’ social media profiles, analysing the collective intelligence of almost 2 billion social media posts by professionals on the front lines of healthcare.
As a Health Insights Consultant Mary is passionate about telling stories with data from online healthcare conversations. Her work is guided by a background in human and cyber-psychology providing a curiosity to understand what HCPs think.
As a keen music fan, Mary’s greatest pride is her Spotify playlists that are continually growing as she makes new discoveries.