A new drug, which seeks to confer instant immunity through a series of antibodies, was developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the clinics at University College London.
The drug, potentially capable of preventing the development of Covid-19 in people who had contact with infected individuals, is being tested by scientists in the UK, reports The Guardian.
Its use would be for cases in which it is too late to resort to vaccination, during the eight days after direct contact with the virus carriers.
“If we can demonstrate that our method works and protects against the development of the disease in people who have been in contact with the virus, then it will be an exciting addition to the arsenal of means that are being developed to combat it,” commented the head of the clinical study. , virologist Catherine Houlihan.
The scientific expectation is that giving antibodies to people at risk will protect them from infection for six to 12 months. In this case, it would be possible to use the drug when it is too late to resort to vaccination, within eight days after direct contact with virus carriers.
According to specialists, the formation of immunity after vaccination can take about a month, while the injected antibodies should help the body deal with the virus in a short time. “The advantage of this drug is that it gives you immediate antibodies,” explains Houlihan.
The drug’s developers believe it will be useful primarily for those at highest risk of infection, including visitors to hospitals, students, and people living in nursing homes.
Scientists hope the new drug could go on sale in March or April, after successful testing is completed and fast-track approval is given by medical regulators.
In a separate trial, scientists are also investigating whether the drug could protect people with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer.