The pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca has started a clinical trial of a drug to help prevent and treat Covid-19, with the first volunteers already receiving doses.
The company, which is separately developing a potential Covid-19 vaccine together with scientists at Oxford University, said the drug, known as AZD7442, is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies.
AstraZeneca said the trial, which will include up to 48 healthy volunteers in the UK aged 18 to 55, will be focused on safety, and the body’s reaction to the drug and how it processes it.
The group said the trial was a milestone in the development of the drug, which has the potential to act as a preventive for people exposed to the virus, as well as to treat patients already infected with Covid-19.
Sir Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president of biopharmaceuticals research and development at Astra, said: “This trial is an important milestone in the development of our monoclonal antibody combination to prevent or treat Covid-19.
“This combination of antibodies, coupled to our proprietary half-life extension technology, has the potential to improve both the effectiveness and durability of use, in addition to reducing the likelihood of viral resistance.”
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