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GSK asks FDA to approve antibody treatment against COVID-19, variants

GSK said in its announcement Friday that the antibody treatment has shown in clinical trials to be effective against COVID-19 variants. File Photo by EPA-EFE
GSK said in its announcement Friday that the antibody treatment has shown in clinical trials to be effective against COVID-19 variants. File Photo by EPA-EFE

March 26 (UPI) -- Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline announced Friday that it has asked U.S. regulators to approve a new antibody treatment for COVID-19 it's been testing.

The treatment developed by GSK and Vir Biotechnology is intended to fight mild or moderate coronavirus infections in patients over the age of 12.

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The company said late-stage clinical trials of the treatment, called VIR-7831, showed an 85% reduction of hospitalization and death in almost 600 human volunteers.

GSK said volunteers in North and South America participated in the study.

"Data suggest VIR-7831 targets a highly conserved epitope of the spike protein, which may make it more difficult for resistance to develop," the company said in a statement, also noting that the antibody treatment was also effective fighting COVID-19 mutant strains.

"[Data] demonstrate that [the treatment] maintains activity against current circulating variants of concern including the UK, South African and Brazilian variants."

GSK said the treatment also appears to be effective against a variant first identified in California.

The pharmaceutical company said it has asked for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, and is in talks with foreign regulators to make the treatment available overseas.

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GSK expects more to be known about VIR-7831 after the patients in the study complete 24 weeks of treatment.

Competitor Eli Lilly announced earlier this month that it's developed a two-drug antibody treatment that's proven almost 90% effective in preventing severe COVID-19 and death.

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