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Regeneron's antibody drug shows protection against COVID for up to 8 months

Posted at 3:31 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 15:31:36-05

(WXYZ) — Regeneron's antibody treatment is called REGEN-COV. It was first authorized here in the US to treat people infected with the virus, but only those with mild or moderate COVID-19. Then in July, the FDA revised Regeneron's emergency use, allowing the antibody-drug to be administered as a preventative treatment in specific situations.

It can be given to a person whose been exposed to someone infected with the virus. And it can be given to people who are at high risk of exposure in institutional settings like nursing homes or prisons.

Now, it’s possible Regeneron’s emergency use authorization could be extended once again with the help of this latest data. Here are the details from the late-stage trials.

The company found that its antibody cocktail reduced the risk of participants getting infected by 81.6%. This protection lasted between 2 and 8 months. Also, no participants that received the antibody cocktail were hospitalized for COVID, compared to 6 hospitalizations in the placebo group. Remember a placebo group is a randomized group of folks. And they’re given a dummy pill or sugar pill – it’s a harmless substance that contains no active ingredients.

Regeneron's antibody treatment would likely be given to folks whose immune systems don’t respond well to the vaccines and also to people who are immunocompromised.

The treatment consists of two types of antibodies - casirivimab and imdevimab. These monoclonal antibodies are made in a lab and what they do is mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. They’ve been designed to recognize and bind to the part of the virus - the spike protein - that infects human cells and this antibody treatment is not that cheap to make. That’s a key reason why I don’t see the antibody cocktail being used as a replacement for vaccines. Vaccines are not only less expensive to make, but billions of doses can easily be made. I believe that Regeneron's antibody treatment will most likely be used selectively - to help protect those who are at high risk.