Britain approves AstraZeneca’s new Covid preventative therapy

Britain’s medical regulator has approved AstraZeneca’s antibody-based Covid treatment to prevent infections in adults with a weak immune response.

Still pushing vaccines as the first line of defense against Covid, the approval of Evusheld is designed to offer certain immunocompromised people an alternative in the fight against the coronavirus.

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Endorsed by the government’s independent scientific advisory body, the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Thursday, AstraZeneca’s Covid antibody treatment was given the green light.

“While COVID-19 vaccines continue to be the frontline defense against COVID-19, we know that some people may not respond adequately to these vaccines,” June Raine, head of the MHRA noted.

Evusheld, a long-acting antibody combination, contains lab-made antibodies that persist for months in the body and will contain the virus if infected.

In trials, the new therapy was able to reduce the risk of developing Covid symptoms by 77%, with a single dose protecting the person for around six months, the MHRA said.

Under review for use in Europe, Evusheld, was cleared for emergency use in the United States in December 2021 for the treatment of immunocompromised adults and adolescents, or those with a history of serious side effects from vaccines Covid.

Delivered as an intramuscular injection, the MHRA said the treatment should not be given to people infected with Covid, or people who have recently been exposed to someone with the virus.

The effectiveness of Evusheld against the highly transmissible variant of Omicron remains to be determined.

Meanwhile, Covid cases and hospitalizations in Australia and New Zealand look like this:

Western Australia

  • New cases: 5,838
  • Deaths linked to Covid:4
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: 147 / 4

North territory

  • New cases: to be determined
  • Covid-related deaths: TBA
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: to be determined

Australian Capital Territory

  • New cases: 1,122
  • Covid-related deaths: 0
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: 34 / 2

queensland

  • New cases: 9,801
  • Covid-related deaths: 10
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: 235 / 18

New South Wales

  • New cases: 19,060
  • Covid-related deaths: 12
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: 1,090 / 29

Victoria

  • New cases: 7,847
  • Covid-related deaths: 2
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: 210 / 23

southern australia

  • New cases: to be determined
  • Covid-related deaths: TBA
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: to be determined

Tasmania

  • New cases: 1,479
  • Covid-related deaths: 0
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: 24/2

New Zealand

  • New cases: 18,514
  • Covid-related deaths: 10
  • Admissions to hospital and intensive care: 939 / 24

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