The Anglo-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca released the results of study of phase 3 of a treatment prophylactic for COVID-19 which, according to the pharmaceutical group, reduces by 77% the risk of developing the symptomatic form of the disease in people without previous exposure to the virus. the medicine AZD7442, a combination of antibodies, it had not been effective on people who had contact with Sars-CoV-2, but the company decided to test it with a preventive approach.
Clinical studies were carried out in Spain, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the United States, with 5,197 people. Approximately 43% of participants were over 60 years of age. In addition, more than 75% had comorbidities and other features associated with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 if they became infected, including patients with immunosuppressive disease or taking medications that lower immunity; diabetes, severe obesity, chronic cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal or hepatic diseases.
All volunteers were chosen for their potential to benefit from preventive treatment, either because they had comorbidities, or because they were intolerant/respond poorly to vaccines. People at increased risk for Sars-CoV-2 infection due to conditions such as high exposure to the virus in the workplace or home were also included. At the time of screening, participants were not vaccinated and had a negative serological test at the point of care.
In trials, volunteers were randomly assigned to receive a single intramuscular injection dose of AZD7442 (3,460), or saline placebo (1,737). In the first group, there were no cases of severe COVID-19 or deaths associated with the infection. In the control arm, three occurrences of the severe form of the disease were recorded, including two deaths.
“With these tremendous results, AZD7442 could be an important tool in our arsenal to help people who may need more than a vaccine to regain a normal life,” said Myron Levin, professor at the University of Colorado, USA, Responsible for testing.
“We need additional approaches for individuals who are not adequately protected by covid-19 vaccines,” commented in a note, Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceutical product development at AstraZeneca. “We look forward to sharing more data from the Phase 3 clinical trials program later this year,” he added.
The laboratory specified that it would send a request to the health authorities to obtain approval for emergency use, or a validation under the conditions of the treatment, the development of which is financed by the United States government. AstraZeneca was also one of the first to validate its vaccine against COVID-19. Initially, its immunizing agent generated doubts, due to the rare Side effects, which led some countries to limit its use.
According to the pharmaceutical company, a technology that extends the half-life of substances in the body, applied intramuscularly, can guarantee that the drug protects against COVID-19 for up to 12 months. Also, preliminary findings in vitro of Oxford University and Columbia University researchers demonstrate that AZD7442 neutralizes recent emerging viral variants of Sars-CoV-2, including the Delta.