‘Antibody cocktail’ treatment can give vulnerable patients long-lasting protection – AstraZeneca

An “antibody cocktail” reduces the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19 by 83% and the chances of progressing to severe disease by 88%, according to AstraZeneca.

he pharmaceutical giant said its latest results in two trials looking at prevention and treatment show “robust efficacy” from one dose of its long-acting antibody combination.

The company’s Provent trial of AZD7442 – a combination of two long-acting antibodies – includes three quarters of participants who are at high risk for severe Covid such as those who have weakened immune systems.

There were no cases of severe disease or virus-related deaths in those treated with the drug at either the primary or six-month points, the firm said.

One 300mg dose of AZD7442 given by injection into muscle had reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19 compared with a placebo by 83% after six months of participant follow-up, the company said.

AstraZeneca’s separate Tackle treatment trial, in patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19, showed that one 600mg dose of the same drug reduced the risk of developing severe disease or death, from any cause, by 88%.

This was compared with a placebo in patients who had been symptomatic for three days or less at the time of treatment.

For that trial, 90% of participants were at high risk of severe disease if they became infected, AstraZeneca said.

The results are particularly hopeful for people most vulnerable to Covid who might not respond well to vaccination, said Professor Hugh Montgomery.

The AZD7442 principal investigator and professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, said: “These compelling results give me confidence that this long-acting antibody combination can provide my vulnerable patients with the long-lasting protection they urgently need to finally return to their everyday lives.

“Importantly, six months of protection was maintained despite the surge of the Delta variant among these high-risk participants who may not respond adequately to vaccination.”

AstraZeneca’s Mene Pangalos said: “These new data add to the growing body of evidence supporting AZD7442’s potential to make a significant difference in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19.

“We are progressing regulatory filings around the world and look forward to providing an important new option against SARS-CoV-2 as quickly as possible.”

Helen Rowntree, from Blood Cancer UK, described the results as “yet further promising news” on this antibody treatment and said it could play an “important role in protecting immunocompromised people against Covid”.

She added: “This gives real hope for the future, particularly for people with blood cancer who have not responded well to three doses of vaccine.”

In both trials the drug was generally well tolerated with no new safety issues identified in the six-month analysis of Provent, AstraZeneca said.

Full results from the trials have not yet been published.

The firm said they will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal and presented at a forthcoming medical meeting.

Penny Ward, independent pharmaceutical physician and visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at Kings College, London, said: “I look forward to seeing the detailed data but if this confirms the information in the press release, this is an important addition to the therapeutic armamentarium for Covid.

“Let us hope a good supply of this product has been secured for use in the UK.”

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