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AstraZeneca, U.S. gov't sign deal for COVID-19 antibody treatment

By
Don Jacobson
The drugmaker's antibody cocktail for COVID-19 will soon begin late-stage clinical trials, the company said. File Photo by Drago Prvulovic/EPA
The drugmaker's antibody cocktail for COVID-19 will soon begin late-stage clinical trials, the company said. File Photo by Drago Prvulovic/EPA

Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has reached a $486 million deal with the U.S. government to supply as many as 100,000 doses of its experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment, if it's ultimately approved.

Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will supply the funding as part of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed effort to quickly develop potential vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.

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AstraZeneca's AZD7442 treatment is a combination, or "cocktail," of antibody drugs similar to the formula under development by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and given to President Donald Trump last week.

Neither have yet been approved for general use by the Food and Drug Administration. Eli Lilly is also seeking FDA approval for an antibody treatment for COVID-19.

In addition to procuring doses of AZD7442, the HHS funding will go to a pair of upcoming final-phase clinical trials involving more than 6,000 participants at sites in the United States and overseas, the drugmaker said.

"This agreement with the U.S. government will help accelerate the development of our long-acting antibody combination which has the potential to provide immediate and long-lasting effect in both preventing and treating COVID-19 infections," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement.

"We will be evaluating the [antibody] combination in different settings from prophylaxis, to outpatient treatment to hospitalization, with a focus on helping the most vulnerable people."

Under the deal, the doses would be distributed beginning later this year. A separate agreement includes an option for another 1 million doses next year.

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