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AstraZeneca says it will seek approval for an antibody drug that has shown in studies to significantly lower the chance of developing COVID-19 symptoms, according to the company.

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In company trials, the drug reduced the risk of people developing COVID-19 symptoms by 77%, giving hope to doctors that the treatment will be effective in immunocompromised patients and those with other conditions that make COVID-19 more likely to be deadly.

The drugs mimic naturally occurring immune system proteins which spur the body to fight the COVID-19 infection.

According to the company, the combination of two long-acting antibodies is the first modified to potentially provide long-lasting protection from the novel coronavirus. More than 75% of the participants in the trial had comorbidities, including some associated with reduced vaccine effectiveness.

There were no cases of severe COVID-19 infection nor deaths in participants in the trial who received the drug, the company said in a news release. For those who received a placebo, there were three cases of severe COVID-19 and two deaths.

The trial included 5,197 participants in multiple countries.

“We are very encouraged by these efficacy and safety data in high-risk people, showing our long-acting antibody combination has the potential to protect from symptomatic and severe disease, alongside vaccines,” Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca executive vice president, said in the statement.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been given approval for use in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the United Kingdom on Friday approved the first monoclonal-antibody COVID-19 treatment for use in that country. It is a combination from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Roche Holding.

The same combination, the Journal reported, is authorized for emergency use in the U.S. and Europe.

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