AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 antibody cocktail was highly effective in preventing symptoms among high-risk people who received the drug as prophylaxis, the company announced on Friday, offering a possible additional form of protection for people who don’t generate a strong immune response from vaccination.
In a press release, the drugmaker said that the AZD7442 antibody cocktail showed a 77% reduction in Covid-19 symptoms compared to the placebo group.
The company also noted that there were no severe Covid-19 cases or deaths in the group that had received the drug, while three severe cases and two deaths occurred in the placebo set.
The findings are from a late-stage trial of the drug which featured 5,197 participants who had other underlying medical conditions, including those that reportedly cause lowered immune response to vaccines.
According to the company, if administered before exposure, the drug could offer up to a year of protection against severe Covid.
AstraZeneca also noted that preliminary studies showed that the drug neutralizes emerging variants, including delta.
The drugmaker said it was preparing the data to show to regulators for potential emergency-use authorization.
The drugmaker’s chief of research and development, Mene Pangalos, said: “We need additional approaches for individuals who are not adequately protected by COVID-19 vaccines. We are very encouraged by these efficacy and safety data in high-risk people, showing our long-acting antibody combination has the potential to protect from symptomatic and severe disease, alongside vaccines.”
While several effective vaccines against Covid have been approved across the world—including the one developed by AstraZeneca along with Oxford University—attempts to develop a successful therapeutic treatment for infected patients have been far less successful. A trial for the same antibody therapy in June among patients already exposed to the virus failed to prevent symptoms. The effectiveness of the drug among people already exposed to the virus was only 33%—even including exposed individuals who tested negative—compared to the placebo. But there are other candidates that have been trialled for prophylactic use. A monoclonal antibody treatment developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has been authorized for emergency use, while Eli Lilly asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to withdraw their EUA in April after its antibody therapy was found to be less effective against variants. All antibody treatments, regardless of their effectiveness, are expensive to manufacture and difficult to administer.
AstraZeneca to seek approval for Covid antibody cocktail (Financial Times)
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