The investigational antibody AZD7442 from AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) fared well in the PROVENT study, reading the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by 77% compared to placebo.
More than three-quarters of participants in the trial had comorbidities that could potentially reduce their immune response to vaccination.
“We need additional approaches for individuals who are not adequately protected by COVID-19 vaccines,” said Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president, biopharmaceuticals R&D. “We are very encouraged by these efficacy and safety data in high-risk people, showing our long-acting antibody combination has the potential to protect from symptomatic and severe disease, alongside vaccines.”
The company plans to share more data from the PROVENT clinical trial later this year.
The trial includes more than 5,000 participants recruited from the U.S., U.K., Spain, France and Belgium.
AZD7442 consists of two long-acting antibodies (LAAB). AstraZeneca believes it to be the first antibody combination that could provide durable protection against COVID-19.
AstraZeneca developed AZD7442 based on the B cells of convalescent patients.
The most successful COVID-19-specific monoclonal antibody to date is Regeneron’s REGEN-COV, which reduced the risk of symptomatic infection 81% in a recent study. It is unclear, however, how long that drug remains effective against SARS-CoV-2.
AZD7442 could offer up to 12 months of protection from COVID-19, AstraZeneca estimates.
The long-lasting capability “could be very important as an option for patients at high risk from COVID infection who have responded poorly to vaccination or who must take immune-suppressing treatment for other disease (cancer, post-transplant, autoimmune disease etc.),” said Penny Ward, an independent pharmaceutical physician. “Indeed, it could potentially be game-changing for these individuals, who are currently being advised to continue to shield despite being fully vaccinated.”
The drug is administered via a single intramuscular injection.
Although AstraZeneca has sold $1.2 billion worth of COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of 2021 alone, its vaccine is less popular than those from rivals Moderna and Pfizer.
The therapy appeared to be safe, with adverse event rates balanced between the placebo and AZD7442 groups.
Pangalos speculated that the product could win emergency use authorization by the end of the year.
Filed Under: clinical trials, Drug Discovery, Infectious Disease