Story at a glance
- Regeneron will ask the Food and Drug Administration to extend authorization of its drug to unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the virus.
- The drug could offer protection as individuals await their vaccinations.
- The study found the cocktail offered 72 percent protection against symptomatic infections in the first week and 93 percent the following weeks.
A new study found that a Regeneron antibody drug that is already used in treatment of COVID-19 lowered the risk of contracting the virus by 81 percent in people exposed to it.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said in a news release Monday that it will ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to extend authorization of its antibody cocktail to unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the virus as a possible protective measure as they wait for their vaccine.
“With more than 60,000 Americans continuing to be diagnosed with Covid-19 every day, the REGEN-COV antibody cocktail may help provide immediate protection to unvaccinated people who are exposed to the virus,” George D. Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s president and chief scientific officer said in the press release.
The results of the phase 3 trial of REGEN-COV, which was conducted in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, have yet to be peer reviewed in a scientific journal.
The drug trial enrolled 1,505 noninfected people who were living in the same household as another person infected with COVID-19 to be given at random either a dose of REGEN-COV or a placebo. The study found the cocktail offered 72 percent protection against symptomatic infections in the first week and 93 percent the following weeks.
"These findings are very encouraging and suggest that REGEN-COV is highly effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in household contacts of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals," Dan H. Barouch, co-principal investigator of the trial and Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said in the release.
“These antibodies may be particularly useful in individuals who are not yet vaccinated, and may also have potential in those who are immunosuppressed and may not respond well to vaccines," Barouch added.
Nearly 190 million vaccinations have been administered in the U.S., CDC data shows, with more than 74 million fully vaccinated.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA