Home >Science >Health >AstraZeneca’s covid antibody drug moves into advanced trials

AstraZeneca Plc started late-stage trials for an antibody medicine against Covid-19 after President Donald Trump credited a similar therapy with aiding his recovery.

Eli Lilly & Co. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. last week asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency-use authorizations but haven’t yet received clearance. Trump has said Regeneron’s antibody cocktail was key to his apparent recovery from coronavirus. GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Vir Biotechnology Inc. also started advanced tests on a possible antibody treatment last week.

"AstraZeneca’s long-acting antibody (LAAB) combination, AZD7442, will advance into two Phase III clinical trials in more than 6,000 participants at sites in and outside the US that are due to begin in the next weeks. The LAABs have been engineered with AstraZeneca’s proprietary half-life extension technology to increase the durability of the therapy for six to 12 months following a single administration. The combination of two LAABs is also designed to reduce the risk of resistance developed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus," the Anglo–Swedish company said in a statement.

AstraZeneca has received support of around $486m from the US government for the development and supply of AZD7442 under an agreement with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

AstraZeneca is one of a number of companies exploring monoclonal antibodies as a way to prevent and treat Covid-19. The U.S. has already secured hundreds of thousands of doses of the experimental treatments.

It plans to supply up to 100,000 doses starting towards the end of 2020 and the US Government can acquire up to an additional one million doses in 2021 under a separate agreement.

Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said: “This agreement with the US Government will help accelerate the development of our long-acting antibody combination which has the potential to provide immediate and long-lasting effect in both preventing and treating COVID-19 infections. We will be evaluating the LAAB combination in different settings from prophylaxis, to outpatient treatment to hospitalisation, with a focus on helping the most vulnerable people."

Early data from both Eli Lilly and Regeneron suggest the medicines are effective in keeping infected people out of the hospital. (With Agency Inputs)

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