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New AstraZeneca COVID-19 treatment lowers risk for unvaccinated

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20 Aug 2021 8:35 AM GMT
New AstraZeneca COVID-19 treatment lowers risk for unvaccinated
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A new coronavirus anti-body treatment developed by drugs giant AstraZeneca aimed at people who cannot be vaccinated reduces the risk of developing symptomatic disease by 77 per cent. The company, AstraZeneca on Friday said the results of the Proven phase III pre-exposure prophylaxis trial showed there were no cases of severe COVID or COVID-related deaths […]

A new coronavirus anti-body treatment developed by drugs giant AstraZeneca aimed at people who cannot be vaccinated reduces the risk of developing symptomatic disease by 77 per cent.

The company, AstraZeneca on Friday said the results of the Proven phase III pre-exposure prophylaxis trial showed there were no cases of severe COVID or COVID-related deaths in those treated with the “anti-body cocktail” AZD7442.

The study of more than 5,000 adults found AZD7442, a combination of two long-acting antibodies, also reduced the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by 77 per cent compared to a placebo.

In the placebo group, there were three cases of severe coronavirus which included two deaths, the company added.

The drugs company said the antibody combination, which is delivered through an injection to the muscle, could give people up to 12 months of protection from COVID-19.

It is the first non-vaccine antibody combination modified to provide potentially long-lasting protection that has demonstrated prevention of COVID-19 in a clinical trial, AstraZeneca added.

Sir Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president of biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said: “we need additional approaches for individuals who are not adequately protected by COVID-19 vaccines.

“We are very encouraged by these efficacies 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.

“We look forward to sharing further data from the AZD7442 phase III clinical trial programme later this year.”

More than 75 per cent of participants in the trial had co-morbidities and other characteristics that are associated with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 or cause a reduced immune response to vaccination, AstraZeneca said.

These include those with immunosuppressive disease or taking immunosuppressive medications, diabetes, severe obesity or cardiac disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney and chronic liver disease.

The long-acting antibodies were well tolerated and preliminary analyses showed adverse events were balanced between the placebo and AZD7442 groups, AstraZeneca added.

The participants will continue to be monitored for 15 months, the company said.

AstraZeneca also said that preliminary “in vitro” findings from investigators at Oxford and Columbia Universities show AZD7442 neutralises recent emergent COVID strains, including the Delta variant.

Myron J. Levin, professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and principal investigator on the trial, said: “the Proven data showrd that one dose of AZD7442, delivered in a convenient intramuscular form, can quickly and effectively prevent symptomatic COVID-19.

“With these exciting results, AZD7442 could be an important tool in our arsenal to help people who may need more than a vaccine to return to their normal lives.”

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