- Patients who received a single injection of AstraZeneca antibody treatment were 83% less likely to develop symptomatic cases of Covid-19 than participants who received a placebo.
- In a separate trial, patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 who received a dose of AZD7442 within three days of developing symptoms saw their risk of developing a severe form reduced by 88%.
- The European Medicines Agency has for its part approved the emergency use of Merck’s anti-Covid pill.
After Merck and Pfizer, it is the turn of the British AstraZeneca to unveil the results of the phase III trials of its drug based on antibodies against Covid-19. Known as AZD7442, it is a combination of two long-acting antibodies (LAAB), tixagevimab and cilgavimab. Tested for six months as a preventive measure on unvaccinated people, it has been shown to be highly effective, and has also convinced patients over 65 years of age at risk of severe form. The data, revealed in the British Medical Journal, show that a single injection of AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing symptomatic cases of Covid-19 by 83%, compared to participants who received a placebo. The risk of severe disease or death is reduced by 88%.
A treatment to be taken preventively
A first phase III trial called Provent examined the safety and effectiveness of a 300 mg injection of AZD7442 as a preventive measure in unvaccinated people who did not show signs of previous infection with Covid-19. The study was conducted at 87 sites in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, France and Belgium for six months. A total of 3,460 people received the treatment and 1,727 people received a saline placebo.
The evaluation ultimately involved 4,991 participants, 43% of whom were 60 years of age or older. In addition, 75% had basic comorbidities and other characteristics associated with an increased risk of severe form.
Analysis showed that a 300 mg dose of AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing a symptomatic form of Covid-19 by 83%, compared to placebo. There were no cases of severe Covid-19 or disease-related death in participants who received the antibody, either during the primary scan or the six-month scan. In the placebo group, there were five cases of severe Covid-19 and two Covid-related deaths.
Decreased risk of severe disease and death
The second phase III trial called Tackel evaluated the safety and efficacy of a single injection of 600 mg of AZD7442 against a placebo in non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate Covid-19. and showing symptoms for less than seven days.
It included 903 participants who randomly received either AZD7442 (452 people) or a saline placebo (451). About 13% of participants were 65 years of age or older, and 90% had basic comorbidities and other features that put them at high risk for progression to a severe form of the disease.
Analysis showed that on day 29, AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing a severe form of Covid-19 or death (all causes) by 88% compared to placebo in patients who had had symptoms for three days or less at the time of treatment.
Merck’s pill urgently authorized in European countries
AstraZeneca says the full results of these two Phase III trials will be submitted for publication to a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The British laboratory has already filed an authorization request for the use of AZD7442 in the treatment of Covid-19 with the American Medicines Authority (FDA), and the United States has already pre-ordered 700,000 doses.
This news comes as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has just approved the emergency use of Merck’s anti-Covid pill before its formal authorization within the European Union, which is planned for the end. of the year 2021. She is also starting a review of Pfizer’s anti-Covid pill. The Merck pill can therefore be used “to treat adults with Covid-19 who do not need additional oxygen and who are at increased risk of developing a severe form,” said the EMA in a statement. The treatment remains however prohibited for pregnant women or those not using contraception and therefore at risk of pregnancy, specifies the European authority.