AstraZeneca’s antibody cocktail against COVID-19 has been “proven to work as a preventative shot in the non-infected” and “also shown to save lives and prevent severe disease when given as treatment within a week of first symptoms” reports Reuters.
AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) drug is a combination of two antibodies called AZD7442. On Monday the drugmaker said it can reduce “the risk of severe COVID-19 or death by 50% in non-hospitalised patients who have had symptoms for seven days or less.” Last week the company asked U.S. regulators to grant emergency use authorization for AZD7442 as a preventative shot.
Risk reduction is “even better in patients who started therapy within just five days of initials symptoms.” Reuters reports “AstraZeneca joins an already crowded field of medicines that were shown to prevent deterioration in patients with mild disease when given soon after diagnosis.”
The difference from a vaccine is AZD7442 “contains laboratory-made antibodies designed to linger in the body for months to contain the virus in case of an infection. A vaccine, in contract, relies on an intact immune system to develop targeted antibodies and infection-fighting cells.”
AstraZeneca’s executive Mene Pangalos told media in a call that the treatment would serve as the potential future use as a non-vaccine prevention. “If and when this is approved it will be used in the treatment setting as well. But the real differentiator for this antibody is going to be in the prophylactic setting” said Pangalos.
Reuters reports it is designed to “protect people who do not have a strong enough immune response to vaccines, primarily those who have received organ transplants or who are in cancer care.”
However, Pangalos says “you can say the same for people who don’t want to be vaccinated but want an antibody.” Therefore if full market clearance is given after emergency approval, the market could widen to the unvaccinated, as well as instances such as an entire crew and passengers of a cruise ship.
Full trial results will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, said AstraZeneca, and added it is submitting the new treatment data on AZD7442 to global health regulators.
Reuters reports “the trial took place across 13 countries and involved more than 900 adult participants, 90% of whom suffered from conditions that made the particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, such as cancer and diabetes. One half receiving AZD7442 and the rest a placebo.”