Regeneron says antibody therapy prevents COVID-19 infections
Good news on the coronavirus therapeutics front: Regeneron says its antibody cocktail prevents symptomatic COVID-19.
While much of the attention has been focused on vaccines, experts say therapeutic treatments are just as important to ending the pandemic, which has killed more than 562,000 Americans. To that end, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said it is planning to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow its antibody cocktail to be used as a preventive treatment for COVID-19.
New results from a clinical trial conducted with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found the drug reduced the risk of symptomatic infection by 81 percent in people who were not infected at the start of the trial, Regeneron said.
Details: The trial enrolled 1,505 people who were not infected with the virus but lived in the same household as someone who recently tested positive. The patients were randomized to receive either one dose of the antibody therapy or a placebo administered as injections.
The drug provided 72 percent protection against symptomatic infections in the first week and 93 percent protection in subsequent weeks, Regeneron said.
Helpful results: The trial tested the antibody treatment for use as a “passive vaccine,” which involves directly injecting antibodies into the body. Traditional vaccines rely on a person’s immune system to activate and develop its own antibodies.
That means the treatment may provide immediate benefits, in contrast to active vaccines, which take weeks to provide protection. In addition, using injections rather than an infusion could make administering it more convenient than the currently authorized use for antibody drugs.