Manitoba Daily

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The FDA has approved the first COVID-19 antibody for long-term prevention

The FDA has approved the first COVID-19 antibody medication

Key takeaways:

  • For more than a year, antibody medicines have been the mainstay treatment for COVID-19 infections. 
  • Antibody medications are difficult to make and often cost more than $1,000 per dosage, whereas vaccines cost less than $30 per shot.

On Wednesday, federal health inspectors approved a new COVID-19 antibody medication for persons with major health problems or allergies who cannot receive appropriate protection via immunization.

For more than a year, antibody medicines have been the mainstay treatment for COVID-19 infections. However, the AstraZeneca antibody medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. 

It’s the first to be designed for long-term prevention rather than short-term therapy of COVID-19 infection.

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The antibody therapy could help cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, and people on immune-suppressing medications for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. According to health experts, approximately 2% to 3% of the US population falls into this category.

“These folks still have to shelter in place because they’re a great danger of serious disease and death,” said Dr. David Boulware of the University of Minnesota ahead of the decision. “As a result of this therapy, many of them will be able to resume their normal lives.”

The FDA has approved Evusheld, an AstraZeneca medication, for adults and children aged 12 and up whose immune systems haven’t responded well to COVID-19 vaccines or have a history of severe allergic responses to the shots. 

The required two antibody injections, according to regulators, may be effective in preventing COVID-19 infections for six months.

Like other similar treatments, AstraZeneca’s medication supplies lab-made replicas of human antibody proteins, which aid the immune system in fighting viruses and other illnesses.

The FDA has approved the first COVID-19 antibody medication
The FDA has approved the first COVID-19 antibody medication. Image from Google

According to the FDA and other health authorities, antibody medicines are not a substitute for vaccines, which are the most efficient, long-lasting, and cost-effective form of virus protection. 

Antibody medications are difficult to make and often cost more than $1,000 per dosage, whereas vaccines cost less than $30 per shot.

The FDA approved three more antibody medicines from Regeneron, Eli Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline, with the US government purchasing hundreds of thousands of doses. All of these procedures necessitate the use of an IV or injection. 

They’re used to treat persons who have recently contracted COVID-19 and are at the highest risk of developing severe COVID-19 due to other health problems. After a suspected coronavirus exposure, two can be used to avoid infection.

The drug developed by AstraZeneca, on the other hand, would only be used as a long-term preventative treatment in people who are extremely susceptible to the virus.

According to the FDA, persons who got Evusheld had a 77% lower risk of infection over six months than people who received a fake injection in a business study.

Source: Global News

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