A SINGLE antibody treatment is as effective as vaccines at halting Covid, trial data reveals.
The jab, developed by AstraZeneca, works in patients with weakened immune systems who often fail to respond to vaccination.
The new jab could help protect those who have weakened immune systems who fail to respond to the vaccines already being rolled out[/caption]
An analysis of more than 5,000 volunteers found the antibody cocktail – known as AZD7442 – offered 83 per cent protection over six months.
None of the participants have been given a Covid vaccine.
The preventative treatment provides a real alternative to vulnerable adults, such as blood cancer patients or transplant recipients.
Experts estimate around two per cent of the population have a weakened immune system – around a million Brits adults.
A separate study found giving the drug to patients within three days of falling ill with Covid slashed their chances of symptoms worsening by 88 per cent.
The treatment is given in one go, as two separate shots in the arm.
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Principal investigator Hugh Montgomery, professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, said vaccines do not work well in as many as “two per cent or more of the global population”.
He said: “It’s for these sorts of people that this intervention is so exciting. It’s… going to be a really big breakthrough.
“These compelling results give me confidence that this long-acting antibody combination can provide my vulnerable patients with the long-lasting protection they urgently need to finally return to their everyday lives.
“Importantly, six months of protection was maintained despite the surge of the Delta variant among these high-risk participants who may not respond adequately to vaccination.”
Around 230,000 Brits have blood cancer, with many having an impaired immune system
Helen Rowntree, from Blood Cancer UK, said: “This is yet further promising news that this antibody treatment is effective and could play an important role in protecting immunocompromised people against Covid.
“This gives real hope for the future, particularly for people with blood cancer who have not responded well to three doses of vaccine.”
AstraZeneca Executive Vice President Mene Pangalos said: “These new data add to the growing body of evidence supporting AZD7442’s potential.
“We are progressing regulatory filings around the world and look forward to providing an important new option against SARS-CoV-2 as quickly as possible.”
The results mean the treatment is more effective than double-vaccination at protecting against Covid illness over the long-term.
Immunity drops to between 67 and 74 per cent around five months after the second jab.
Prof Penny Ward, Visiting Professor in Pharmaceutical Medicine at Kings College, London, said: “This antibody cocktail is, uniquely, capable of offering long lasting protection from Covid to patients that are immunosuppressed and may not have responded effectively to vaccination.
“If may yet come to be considered an important adjunctive treatment for cancer patients and others needing immune suppressing therapy for other diseases.”
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