AstraZeneca’s antibody cocktail found to be 77% effective
AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 antibody cocktail was found to be 77% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 in high-risk people in a key trial that could expand the range of drugs available to vulnerable groups.
Results from Astra’s study found no one in the trial who received the cocktail contracted severe Covid-19 or died in relation to the disease, the company said in a statement Friday. The trial of 5,197 participants, which started in November, was looking at whether the drug could prevent infection in at-risk groups and took place in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and Spain.
The findings may also salvage a deal with the U.S. to purchase the drug. The U.S. had ordered as many as 700,000 doses for delivery in 2021, the value of which was partly contingent on the failed trial.
“We need additional approaches for individuals who are not adequately protected by Covid-19 vaccines,” Dr Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president of biopharmaceuticals research and development, said in a statement. “We are very encouraged by these efficacy and safety data in high-risk people.”
AstraZeneca will move to seek regulatory approval of its antibody cocktail after a study showed the drug significantly reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19. That would make it the first long-acting drug that is not a vaccine that has demonstrated prevention of the disease in a clinical trial.
AstraZeneca said preliminary cell studies showed the cocktail neutralises emergent viral variants, including Delta. While there are several safe and effective vaccines approved across the world, including one made by Oxford university and AstraZeneca, the quest to find effective treatments, especially those that work to prevent symptomatic Covid, has been less successful.
Antibody cocktails are difficult to administer and expensive to make, making them cost-effective only if their effects are significant.