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US, AstraZeneca strike deal for COVID-19 antibody treatment touted by Trump

(Reuters) – The US government has awarded AstraZeneca Plc $ 486 million to develop and secure supplies of up to 100,000 doses of COVID-19 antibody treatment, a similar class of drugs used in the treatment of President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of the AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken on September 9, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / File photo

The agreement, as part of the Trump administration̵

7;s Warp Speed ​​operation, is for the development of a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies capable of preventing COVID-19, especially in high-risk populations such as those over the age of 80 years old, the United States Department of Health and Human Services said.

The treatment is back in the spotlight after Trump was treated with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ antibody drug last week. The president also posted a video on Twitter to advertise the benefits.

In a phone call last Friday, a senior US health official said the government expected to provide more than 1 million free doses of antibody treatments to COVID-19 patients, similar to what Trump was given.

Regeneron and Eli Lilly have both applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use clearances for their antibody treatments.

AstraZeneca said it plans to supply up to 100,000 doses by the end of 2020 and that the US government could acquire up to a million more doses in 2021 under a separate agreement.

Regeneron signed a $ 450 million deal in July to sell sufficient doses of its antibody treatment, REGN-COV2, to Operation Warp Speed ​​to treat approximately 300,000 people.

Eli Lilly said Friday that he had not signed a deal with Operation Warp Speed.

AstraZeneca intends to evaluate the treatment, AZD7442, which is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, in two studies.

One study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the experimental treatment to prevent infection for up to 12 months in approximately 5,000 participants, while the second will evaluate preventive and post-exposure preventive treatment in approximately 1,100 participants.

Reporting of Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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