FAMILY HEALTHCAST — AstraZeneca has asked the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency authorization for an antibody treatment for people at high risk of the disease. It could be the first drug treatment to prevent COVID in the United States.
Vulnerable populations such as the immunocompromised often aren’t able to mount a protective response following vaccination and continue to be at risk of developing Covid-19. We are one step closer to providing an additional option to help protect against Covid-19 alongside vaccines.Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca Vice President
The company says the treatment reduced the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 by 77% in a trial in which most participants either had other medical conditions that placed them at greater risk of severe illness or were not producing sufficient antibodies after vaccination.
It said the treatment, given by infusion, could be used in conjunction with vaccines in people with weaker immune systems. Other antibody treatments in use in the United States, have mainly been used to treat people who are already infected with the coronavirus.
Antibody treatments have gained greater attention in recent months as an alternative, if expensive, tool in the United States, particularly by some who have shunned vaccines.
The Biden administration has emphasized that vaccinations are the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but has urged state and local health officials to make antibody therapy – which the federal government covers at a per-dose cost of roughly $2000- more widely available.