U.S. FDA authorizes AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 antibody drug

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The logo for AstraZeneca is seen outside its North America headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., March 22, 2021. REUTERS/Rachel Wisniewski

Dec 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. drugs regulator said on Wednesday it had authorized AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) antibody cocktail to prevent COVID-19 infections in individuals who have weak immune systems or a history of severe side effects from coronavirus vaccines.

While vaccines rely on an intact immune system to develop targeted antibodies and infection-fighting cells, AstraZeneca’s therapy Evusheld contains lab-made antibodies designed to linger in the body for months to contain the virus in case of an infection.

“Vaccines have proven to be the best defense available against COVID-19,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Pre-exposure prevention with Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended, the FDA said.