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Astra antibody assays indicate efficacy against variants

(Bloomberg) – AstraZeneca Plc’s antibody cocktail against covid-19 showed efficacy against variants of the virus in early trials, potentially relevant for vulnerable populations that cannot be vaccinated. The combination of monoclonal antibodies obtained from convalescent patients of COVID-19 showed resistance against the new strains first identified in the UK and South Africa in extensive laboratory testing, Mark Esser, Astra’s director of microbial sciences, said in an interview. The news is particularly helpful given that the recruitment process is now slower amid the success of vaccines. While vaccines can protect the general population from disease, each person’s immune system does not always respond appropriately. High-risk people, such as cancer patients, may need medications such as monoclonal antibodies that can neutralize the virus and mimic the immune response necessary to prevent infection. Astra is running five late-stage trials of its antibodies, looking at both prevention and treatment. Astra had originally planned to test the antibodies in older people because that group generally doesn’t respond as well to flu shots. But a better-than-expected reaction from older adults to covid vaccines led the company to focus more on high-risk individuals, and the first data is expected in the summer, Esser said. and the UK “has slowed us down a bit. It’s a good problem, ”Esser said. “The other challenge is that people who have already signed up for our studies are giving up on the idea of ​​getting the vaccine.” The company recruited about 3,000 people from a target of 5,000 participants in a trial looking at prevention, and half of a study of 1,125 people examining the impact of antibodies after someone has been exposed to the virus in settings such as nursing homes. The other three trials that focus on treating the disease include both inpatient and outpatient COVID-19 cases. Supply and Demand The UK pharmaceutical giant agreed last year to deliver up to 100,000 doses of the antibodies to the US. starting in late 2020, with the option of acquiring a million more in 2021. But now these doses will not be delivered until the company has results, according to an Astra spokesperson. The UK also agreed to buy one million doses in December. While vaccine production can be increased more easily, it is only possible to produce several million doses of the monoclonal antibodies annually, according to Esser. This means that demand for the drugs could significantly exceed supply if they are proven to work. Other companies are also working on similar projects. A neutralizing antibody from Eli Lilly and Co. received emergency authorization in the US in November as a treatment for patients at high risk of going from mild to severe or hospitalized. Lilly also partnered with GlaxoSmithKline Plc and its partner Vir Biotechnology Inc. last month to test a combination of its antibodies, against a new threat of variants.Original Note: Astra Antibody Trials Show Promising Signs Against VariantsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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