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AstraZeneca’s new antibody cocktail Evushield is more effective than its own vaccine

AstraZeneca has solidified its lead in the race to develop a preventative COVID-19 drug, announcing in a statement last Thursday (18 November), that its new preventative antibody cocktail, Evusheld, offers 83% protection against symptomatic COVID-19 for at least six months, making it more effective than its own vaccine.

The drug, reports RT World News, delivered as a shot in one go, in two sequential shots in the arm, is named AZD7442, or Evusheld, and reduces the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 by 83% over the course of six months, according to data from a trial in which participants were given one 300mg dose. There were no deaths or severe infections recorded within the trial group.

A separate trial showed the drug reduced the risk of severe COVID-19 or death by 88% when administered within three days of the onset of symptoms.

“These new data add to the growing body of evidence supporting AZD7442's potential … 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,” AstraZeneca executive vice president Mene Pangalos said in the statement.

The Anglo-Swedish firm has agreed to supply the US government with 700,000 doses of AZD7442 if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants it emergency use, which AstraZeneca requested on 5 October. The firm has similar agreements with other nations.

The drug is created using a combination of two antibodies originating from immune B-cells donated by a recovering COVID-19 patient.

The treatment could be used in people who are known not to respond well to vaccines, such as cancer patients, adds the RT report. Around 2% of people are considered to be at risk of not creating enough antibodies after the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Based on the numbers, the drug appears to be more effective than the firmʼs first-generation COVID-19 vaccine.

Britainʼs Zoe COVID study showed the effectiveness of the vaccine dropped to around 67% after four to five months.

AstraZeneca’s executive vice president for vaccines and immune therapies Iskra Reic said unlike its vaccine, the drug would be priced commercially as it negotiates supply contracts with governments around the globe.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said the treatment was more complicated to produce than a vaccine but that there would be enough production capacity around the world to meet demand.

Monoclonal antibody drugs deliver lab-made versions of the body's natural antibodies to fight off infection, while vaccines spur the body to make its own antibodies and build its own immunity.

While AstraZeneca says the shot is primarily meant to help immunocompromised and at-risk individuals, at some point a wider group could benefit, such as military personnel on tours of duty or cruise ship passengers.

It would be administered in addition to vaccines, the company said.

For AstraZeneca's PROVENT trial, close to 5,200 participants without an
infection were randomly split into two groups, with one volunteer receiving an ineffective placebo without knowing, for every two receiving Evusheld.

Participants were at risk of suffering severe COVID-19 if infected or were immunocompromised, meaning they were in cancer care, or receiving drugs due to an autoimmune disease or an organ transplant.

The trial volunteers were not vaccinated, even though high-risk groups have been prioritised in global vaccination campaigns. Anyone opting to get vaccinated during the trial was excluded from the analysis.

Trial volunteers will be followed up for 15 months to provide evidence of longer-lasting protection.

 

RT News article – AstraZeneca reveals what’s more effective over time than its own vaccine (Open access)

 

Reuters article – AstraZeneca's antibody cocktail helps prevent COVID-19 for at least 6 months (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Antibody combo significantly reduces risk of COVID-19 — AstraZeneca phase III trial

 

AstraZeneca claims 79% prevention efficacy in US vaccine trial

 

Single shot of AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines reduce hospital treatment for elderly

 

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