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New COVID Drug Guards Against All Variants in People With Weak Immune Systems

By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 28, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- A new antibody drug to help fight COVID-19 infection in immune-compromised people may be available by the end of the year.

AstraZeneca said Thursday that its treatment, called AZD3152, appears to work in all variants to date, potentially providing necessary armor for immunocompromised people whose vaccinations have not given them enough protection, CBS News reported.

"In vitro studies demonstrated that AZD3152 neutralizes all COVID-19 variants, including Arcturus, the latest variant of concern," Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals at AstraZeneca, told investors on an earnings call this week.

Results of the SUPERNOVA trial on the drug could be out by September, and that may lead to an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CBS News reported.

AstraZeneca had previously announced promising early lab testing results for the drug. It may be helpful in the 2% of people whose immune systems are not providing effective resistance after vaccination, the company said.

"We hope to make AZD3152 available as a new prophylactic treatment in the second half of this year," Pangalos said.

AZD3152 is considered a replacement for the now-shelved Evusheld. It’s based on an antibody derived from donated B cells of previously infected people, CBS News reported. It is "designed to have broader variant coverage" than Evusheld, according to the company.

As Omicron variants have been less affected by existing treatments, the need for replacements has been concerning to federal officials.

While the treatments Paxlovid and remdesivir (Veklury) still exist, sometimes they just suppress the virus, CBS News said.

Five billion in new federal funding will address some of these lingering COVID issues, including subsidizing the development of new vaccines and antibody drugs, according to CBS News.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 treatments.


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