As treatment options for the pandemic expand beyond vaccination, AstraZeneca Plc has proposed an antibody cocktail for emergency permission in the United States to prevent Covid-19 infection.
It’s the first regulatory submission for the drug, which was found to be 77 percent effective in avoiding symptomatic Covid in a clinical trial including patients with significant infection risk factors.
The mixture can be used to augment immunizations for those who haven’t responded well to vaccinations or to protect those who haven’t been able to get them. The announcement comes only days after Merck & Co. expressed hope that the first Covid tablet will be available shortly. Both therapies have the potential to provide a straightforward approach to treat a large number of patients before they reach the hospital.
“We are one step closer to providing an additional option to help protect against Covid-19 alongside vaccines,” Mene Pangalos, Astra’s executive vice president for biopharmaceuticals research, said in a statement.
Supply arrangements for the drug, known as AZD7442, are currently being discussed with the US government and others across the world. Antibody medicines are more difficult to manufacture in large quantities.
The United States has placed an order for up to 700,000 doses to be delivered in 2021, with the contract’s worth depending on the results of a prior experiment that failed to prove it worked in persons who had been directly exposed to Covid.
In London trade, Astra shares were barely moved.