Major trials will begin this weekend of an antibody cocktail that scientists hope will protect people against Covid-19 and could be swiftly used in care homes or on cruise ships in the event of an outbreak.
A UK volunteer will be given the first dose of a drug that is expected to give vulnerable people immediate protection. The jab into the muscle of the arm takes effect straight away and could last for six months to a year. If it works as well as scientists predict, it could be used to protect those who cannot be given vaccines because of their state of health.
The drug, which is moving into large-scale phase 3 trials in the UK, is made by AstraZeneca, the same pharmaceutical company that has partnered with Oxford University to develop a vaccine. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is the UK government’s biggest hope for a mass vaccination campaign next year. The UK has pre-ordered 100m doses but unlike rival vaccination trials from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, the company has not yet published any efficacy results.
Asked whether the vaccine would be ready to use by the end of 2020, Sir Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said: “We are on track to still have data before the end of the year or before Christmas. I think we’re still hoping that we might be able to dose, if we show that the vaccine is safe and effective, towards the end of the year.”
Pangalos said the antibody drug would be almost like a passive vaccination. “Now that’s important because obviously there’s going to be a significant number of people even in a world where vaccines are highly effective that will not respond to vaccines, or in fact will not take vaccines and so having monoclonal antibodies as potential therapeutics I think is also important.” Read from source….