UK First to Trial AstraZeneca ‘antibody cocktail’ Aimed at Non-Vaccine Candidate Patients.
The UK will be the first country in the world to begin clinical trials of a new coronavirus antibody treatment developed by drugs giant AstraZeneca aimed at people with a weakened immune system who are not suitable candidates for vaccination. A participant in Manchester will be the first in the world to receive the pharmaceutical company’s new “antibody cocktail” as part of the trial to test whether it will prevent Covid-19 for up to a year.
The clinical trial programme will recruit 5,000 participants, which includes 1,000 people from nine areas of the UK. The aim of the trial is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a combination of two long-acting monoclonal antibodies – man-made proteins that act like natural human antibodies in the immune system.
Executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, Sir Mene Pangalos, said the treatment, which can be injected or administered intravenously, is aimed at those who have a weakened immune system and cannot be vaccinated. The jabs will also target those who are unlikely to respond to immunisation – which may include hundreds of thousands people across the country.
He said: “There is going to be a significant number of people – even in a world where vaccines are highly effective – who will not respond to vaccines, or in fact, will not take vaccines. So having monoclonal antibodies as potential therapeutics is also important.”
The UK Government has an in-principle agreement to secure access to one million doses of the antibody combination, dubbed AZD7442 if it is successful in the phase three trials.
The trial aims to enrol adults who are at increased risk of Covid-19 infection or who are more likely to have an inadequate response to vaccination and will include people from health care and care home settings. Sir Mene said: “We need people to sign up to this [trial], particularly those vulnerable people over 60 who are immuno-suppressed, and maybe at higher risk of developing severe disease.”
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