AstraZeneca antibody drug effective at treating mild Covid infection in trial


AstraZeneca Plc’s antibody cocktail was effective at preventing people with mild or moderate Covid-19 infection from worsening in a study.

The cocktail halved the risk of developing severe illness or death compared with a placebo in a primary analysis of 822 patients who weren’t hospitalized, Astra said in a statement Monday. The trial took place in countries including the UK, Brazil, the US and Germany.

The results are another boon for the product after it was also found to be highly effective at preventing symptomatic Covid in high-risk people. The outcomes are a relief for Astra after an initial trial testing whether the cocktail could prevent symptomatic disease in people explicitly exposed to the virus failed in June. The company said last week it had applied for emergency-use authorization in the US.

Antibody treatments are a key tool in the fight against Covid-19 as they can be used to supplement vaccines for people who haven’t mounted a strong response to the shots or to protect those who couldn’t be immunized. Those who may be eligible for such cocktails include cancer patients or those with weakened immune systems.

“With continued cases of serious Covid-19 infections across the globe, there is a significant need for new therapies like AZD7442 that can be used to protect vulnerable populations,” said Hugh Montgomery, the principal investigator on the trial and professor of intensive care medicine at University College London.

In a separate analysis of patients who received treatment within five days of getting symptoms, the cocktail reduced the risk of the disease worsening by 67 percent. The majority of patients—90 percent—were from populations at high risk of progression to severe Covid-19, including those with comorbidities. Bloomberg News

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