AstraZeneca: New Covid drug protects effectively, study says

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The risk of symptomatic disease in previously uninfected subjects was reduced by 77 percent.

An antibody drug from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca effectively protects against corona disease, according to clinical tests. The drug, AZD7442 – a combination of two long-acting antibodies – is specifically designed for people for whom vaccination is not particularly suitable for certain reasons. The drug reduced the risk of symptomatic covid-19 by 77 percent in tests from a Phase III clinical trial, according to AstraZeneca.

One dose
None of the subjects given the drug became severely ill or died. In the comparison group, which received a placebo, there were three severe covid cases and two deaths, the group said Friday in London.

The antibody drug is injected in one dose into the muscle and is said to be easy to administer. According to the company, the drug is the first preventive agent that is not a vaccine and has shown effective protection against covid-19 in clinical trials. With a vaccine, the body is supposed to make antibodies on its own; with AZD7442, they are administered externally.

One year of protection
The protective effect is expected to last up to twelve months and also work against the delta variant currently circulating. Further data from the Phase III trial is expected to be presented later this year, as additional testing is ongoing. The next step is to file for regulatory approval of the drug.

Mene Pangalos, head of research at AstraZeneca, said, “We need more approaches for people who are not adequately protected by the Corona vaccines.” The antibody drug has the potential to prevent symptomatic and severe disease alongside vaccines, he said. The British-Swedish pharmaceutical company is also one of the manufacturers that launched an effective Corona vaccine last year.

Clinical trials of the antibody drug involved 5,172 adult volunteers in Europe and the U.S. who were not vaccinated at the time and did not have Corona infection. More than 75 percent had pre-existing conditions that result in the approved vaccines being less protective for them or who cannot be vaccinated. AstraZeneca estimates that this could apply to around two percent of the world’s population.

— source: kurier.at/picture: swr.de

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