AstraZeneca scored a win on Friday as data showed its antibody cocktail is 77 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in high-risk populations.
The research found no one who took AstraZeneca’s combination, called AZD7442, developed severe COVID-19 or died due to the virus. In comparison, three participants who received the placebo endured serious illness, with two fatalities.
AstraZencea called the treatment, involving the antibodies ixagevimab and cilgavimab, the first “long-acting antibody combination to prevent COVID-19” in a release.
Overall, 25 positive coronavirus infections were confirmed in the Provent study involving more than 5,100 patients across sites in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and Spain. The participants were unvaccinated at the time and had a negative test.
The study is expected to be sent to a peer-reviewed medical journal to be published, as well as to regulators for an emergency use authorization or conditional approval.
Drug manufacturers have been testing different antibody treatments for COVID-19 to provide a way to help those who may not have adequate vaccine protection, including cancer patients, fight the virus.
“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,” Myron Levin, principal investigator in the study, said in a statement.
The results follow a less successful trial: AstraZeneca announced in June that AZD7442 did not prevent symptomatic COVID-19 in recently exposed people. That study determined that those with the antibody cocktail were just 33 percent less at risk of developing symptoms.
But the treatment decreased the risk of symptoms by 73 percent among those who tested negative for COVID-19 at the start of the trial.
The U.S. has ordered 700,000 doses of AZD7442 in a deal that was potentially in jeopardy due to the results of the June study.
Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s head of biopharmaceutical research, told Bloomberg News that the U.S. remains interested in receiving the antibody treatment “based on the conversations we’ve had.”