AstraZeneca said today its antibody-based cocktail to prevent and treat COVID-19 retained neutralising activity against Omicron coronavirus variants, including the contagious BA.2 sub-variant, in an independent lab study.
This is the first data looking at the impact of AstraZeneca’s Evusheld treatment on “cousins” of the Omicron variant following a recent global spike in cases. The drugmaker said in December that another lab study found that Evusheld retained neutralising activity against Omicron.
Evusheld was tested against the BA.1, BA.1.1, and BA.2 sub-variants of Omicron and it was also shown in the study to limit inflammation in the lungs – a critical symptom in severe COVID-19 infections.
“The findings further support Evusheld as a potential important option to help protect vulnerable patients such as the immunocompromised who could face poor outcomes if they were to become infected with COVID-19,” John Perez, Head, Late Development, Vaccines and Immune Therapies, AstraZeneca, said.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said figures showing a global rise in COVID-19 cases could herald a much bigger problem, as the Omicron and BA.2 variants spread amid the easing of restrictions and testing.
Evusheld was found to cut the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by 77 per cent in trials, Britain’s drug regulator said last week, after approving the therapy for preventing infections in adults with poor immune response.
Evusheld has also been shown to save lives and prevent disease progression when given within a week of first symptoms.
While vaccines rely on an intact immune system to develop targeted antibodies and infection-fighting cells, Evusheld contains lab-made antibodies designed to linger in the body for months to contain the virus in case of an infection.
The therapy is currently under a European review. It has already been authorised in the US.
Edits by EP News Bureau