AstraZeneca has announced that its preventative antibody cocktail offers 83% protection against symptomatic Covid-19 for at least six months, making it more effective than its own vaccine.

In a statement on Thursday, AstraZeneca cemented its lead in the race to develop and market a preventative Covid-19 drug, which is delivered as a shot in the arm. 

The drug, named AZD7442, reduces the risk of symptomatic Covid-19 by 83% over the course of six months, according to data from a trial in which participants were given one 300mg dose. There were no deaths or severe infections recorded within the trial group, it said. 

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A separate trial showed the drug reduced the risk of severe Covid-19 or death by 88% when administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. 

“These new data add to the growing body of evidence supporting AZD7442’s potential … We are progressing regulatory filings around the world and look forward to providing an important new option against SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19] as quickly as possible,” AstraZeneca Executive Vice President Mene Pangalos said in the statement. 

The Anglo-Swedish firm has agreed to supply the US government with 700,000 doses of AZD7442 if the Food and Drug Administration grants it emergency use, which AstraZeneca requested on October 5. The firm has similar agreements with other nations. 

The drug is created using a combination of two antibodies originating from immune B-cells donated by a recovering Covid-19 patient. 

The treatment could be used in people who are known not to respond well to vaccines, such as cancer patients. Around 2% of people are considered to be at risk of not creating enough antibodies following the administration of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

Based on the numbers, the drug appears to be more effective than the firm’s first-generation Covid-19 vaccine. Britain’s Zoe Covid study showed the effectiveness of the vaccine dropped to around 67% after four to five months. 

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