The antibody drug Evusheld is effective for protecting clinically extremely vulnerable people from Covid-19, including its omicron variants, a preprint study has reported.
The prophylactic treatment, manufactured by AstraZeneca, is a combination of two long acting antibodies (tixagevimab and cilgavimab). It is given as two separate, sequential intramuscular injections in the same session and can be administered in the community.
A research team, led by the University of Birmingham alongside academics from King’s College London and the UK Health Security Agency, carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine its effectiveness in immunocompromised patients.
The paper examined the outcomes among 24 773 immunocompromised participants across 17 international studies, 10 775 of whom received Evusheld. Overall, it reported that the treatment was 86% effective for preventing covid specific death, 88% effective in preventing intensive care admission, effective in preventing hospital admission, and 40% effective in preventing Covid-19 infection.
The study’s senior investigator, Lennard Lee, senior research fellow at the University of Birmingham and academic medical oncologist at the University of Oxford, said, “There is strong evidence emerging across the world that this approach of using prophylactic antibody therapies in combination with vaccination is a revolutionary approach to safeguard the most vulnerable patients this winter. The science and data suggest that it would be a successful approach for many cancer and immunocompromised patients at the highest level of risk.”
Evusheld is already being given to immunocompromised patients in countries including the United States, France, and Israel, but the UK government is waiting for more data on the duration of protection it provides against omicron and its subvariants before deciding whether it should be used.
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Source: BMJ, 8 November 2022