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Home / Science / Health /  AstraZeneca COVID drug neutralizes Omicron sub-variants in study
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AstraZeneca said its antibody-based cocktail to prevent and treat COVID-19 was shown to retain neutralising activity against Omicron coronavirus variants, including the highly contagious BA.2 sub-variant, in an independent lab study.

The study used a transgenic mouse model to evaluate Evusheld in pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) of COVID-19, similar to how Evusheld is used in the clinic. These are the first in vivo data evaluating Evusheld’s efficacy against the Omicron variants versus previous in vitro neutralising activity assays in cultured cells. The study has yet to be peer reviewed.

The therapy, Evusheld, was tested against the BA.1, BA.1.1, and BA.2 subvariants of Omicron and it was also shown to limit inflammation in the lungs.

"The findings further support Evusheld as a potential important option to help protect vulnerable patients such as the immunocompromised who could face poor outcomes if they were to become infected with COVID-19," senior AstraZeneca executive John Perez said.

Additional ‘live’ virus data from Aix-Marseilles University and pseudovirus data from the US Food and Drug Administration also demonstrated that Evusheld neutralises BA.2.4,5 According to the World Health Organization, cases of BA.2 have been identified in 85 countries to date, with prevalence increasing in several parts of the world.

Evusheld received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in the US in December 2021 for the pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) of COVID-19 in people with moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or immunosuppressive medications and who may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, as well as those individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is not recommended

Evusheld, formerly known as AZD7442, is a combination of two long-acting antibodies – tixagevimab (AZD8895) and cilgavimab (AZD1061) – derived from B-cells donated by convalescent patients after SARS-CoV-2 infection

The World Health Organization said last week figures showing a global rise in COVID-19 cases could herald a much bigger problem, as the Omicron and BA.2 variants spread amid the easing of restrictions and testing.

Vaccines rely on an intact immune system to develop targeted antibodies and infection-fighting cells, but Evusheld contains lab-made antibodies designed to linger in the body for months to contain the virus in case of an infection.


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