By Sola Ogundipe

Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca has said that yesterday that a study of its monoclonal antibody treatment, AZD7442, did not meet the main goal of preventing symptomatic Coronavirus (COVID-19) in people recently exposed to the novel COVID-19.

The company said participants in the trial were unvaccinated adults above 18 years with confirmed exposure to the coronavirus within the past eight days.

AstraZeneca said AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by 33 percent compared to a placebo, which was not statistically significant.

AstraZeneca Executive Vice-President Mene Pangalos stated: “While this trial did not meet the primary endpoint against symptomatic illness, we are encouraged by the protection seen in the PCR negative participants following treatment with AZD7442.”

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AstraZeneca is also studying the treatment in a pre-exposed patient’s trial and for preventing more severe disease.

The monoclonal antibody therapy belongs to a class of drugs that mimic natural antibodies the body produces to fight off the infection.

Rivals Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Eli Lilly & Co . have both developed monoclonal antibody therapies which have been authorised for use in the U.S. to treat patients infected with the virus.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved Regeneron’s therapy and is reviewing similar drugs from Eli Lilly, Celltrion and one developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology Inc.

AstraZeneca in October enlisted Swiss contract manufacturer Lonz to produce the antibody-drug in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, starting in the first half of 2021.

AZD7442 is being developed with support from the U.S. government. AstraZeneca in March announced a deal with the U.S. government to supply up to half a million doses of AZD7442.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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