Gov’t, AstraZeneca Working to Develop Antibody to Prevent COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) have reached an agreement with AstraZeneca to further the development and large-scale manufacturing of AZD7442, an investigational product in the fight against COVID-19. This promising cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies aims to prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus responsible for causing COVID-19, as part of the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative.

AstraZeneca had announced today that it is developing an investigational long-acting antibody combination to potentially prevent COVID-19 symptoms before exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The drug, known as AZD7442, combines two monoclonal antibodies and is being studied as a means to prevent infection in people who have not been fully vaccinated, or may not respond well to vaccination.

Monoclonal antibodies mimic natural antibodies in the immune system that attack invading pathogens like viruses. The long-acting formulation of AZD7442 could potentially offer six to 12 months of protection from COVID-19 after a single dose.

This could aid vulnerable populations who may mount a reduced immune response to vaccines. The company is currently enrolling participants in a Phase III clinical trial in the U.S. and UK to evaluate AZD7442 compared to placebo.

Dr. Myron J. Levin, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and investigator on the trial stated: “There is a significant need for new options to help protect people who remain at high risk for COVID-19, particularly those who have an inadequate response to vaccination.”

If approved, AZD7442 could be an important tool in combination with vaccines to help end the pandemic. AstraZeneca plans to supply up to 700,000 doses as part of agreements with several governments, if authorized for emergency use or approved.

With COVID-19 continuing to present a global health threat, AstraZeneca’s development of this long-acting antibody therapy marks an important step in providing more options to reduce serious illness and death.

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