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AstraZeneca says antibody therapy effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms

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AstraZeneca says antibody therapy effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms
The trial results, it added, showed no coronavirus-related deaths among those who received the therapy -- compared to three cases of severe COVID-19 and two deaths in the placebo group.  File Photo by Dan Himbrechts/EPA-EFE

Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Pharma giant AstraZeneca said on Friday that a new antibody therapy has shown to help reduce the risk of symptoms among COVID-19 patients by close to 80%.

The company said results from a late-stage trial show the antibody therapy cut the risk of symptoms by 77%, giving hope to those who have had poor vaccine response in the past.

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AstraZeneca is the first to post positive prevention data from a coronavirus antibody trial. The drugmaker said 75% of trial participants had chronic conditions, including some with a lower immune response to vaccinations.

"We need additional approaches for individuals who are not adequately protected by COVID-19 vaccines," Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of AstraZeneca biopharmaceuticals research and development, said in a statement.

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"We are very encouraged by these efficacy and safety data in high-risk people, showing our long-acting antibody combination has the potential to protect from symptomatic and severe disease, alongside vaccines."

AstraZeneca said the antibody therapy, called AZD7442, is a combination of two long-acting antibodies. The trial results, it added, showed no coronavirus-related deaths among those who received the therapy -- compared to three cases of severe COVID-19 and two deaths in the placebo group.

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"With these exciting results, AZD7442 could be an important tool in our arsenal to help people who may need more than a vaccine to return to their normal lives," added Dr. Myron Levin, professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

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The company said it will submit data from the study to regulators for emergency use authorization or conditional approval.

AstraZeneca also announced Friday that it's halting study of a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis due to lack of efficacy.

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