New study probes long-haul Covid-19

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Headquarters of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc in Tarrytown, New York. Lev Radin / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday its double antibody treatment for Covid-19 reduced symptomatic four-day illness at any dose level tried its clinical trial.

The treatment also appeared to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by about 70% compared to the placebo, the company said.

Regardless of the dose administered, the treatment significantly reduced the patient’s viral load.

Monoclonal antibodies are proteins of the immune system made in the laboratory that are infused to stimulate a patient’s immune response to fight disease. Covid-19 treatments seem to work best at the start of an infection. Treatments are also tested to see if they can prevent infection.

Regeneron treatment has already been cleared for use at a higher dose by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It was used to treat former President Donald Trump when he developed Covid-19 last year.

The drug company said it will now seek emergency use authorization from the FDA for its cocktail of antibodies at a lower dose in light of the latest test data. This move could essentially double the manufacturing capacity.

“We will promptly discuss the new data with regulatory authorities and request that the 1,200 mg dose be added to the emergency use authorization in the United States, so that the planned supply of REGEN-VOC is available for treating even more patients, ”said Dr George. Yancopoulos, President and Scientific Director of Regeneron.

This advanced stage trial involved nearly 5,000 outpatients. Each had at least one underlying condition that would make them more vulnerable to severe Covid-19. The trial also involved a diverse patient population. About 35% of the patients were Latino / Hispanic and 5% were black.

The results are not published in a journal, nor are they peer reviewed, but the company said it plans to submit the results for a peer review as soon as possible.

Regeneron isn’t the only company working on antibody therapy. Drug maker Eli Lilly has two licensed treatments, but they may not work as well against some of the variants.

The FDA had reviewed research done on the mutations that characterize many of the newer variants. None of the experiments involved living and infected patients, but the FDA said the discovery was serious enough to warrant a change in the emergency use authorizations for the products.

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