There’s a new tool in the fight against COVID-19, but it’s not a vaccine.
An antibody combination drug known as Evusheld has receivedTrusted Source an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help prevent COVID-19 in some adults and children over the age of 12 who are at least 88 pounds.
The FDA authorized Evusheld for two groups of people:
People with moderate to severe compromised immune systems from medical conditions or medications who might not adequately respond to vaccines. This group includes people receiving chemotherapy for cancer and those who have previously had a transplant and are on immunosuppressant medications.
People who have had a severe adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine or its ingredients.
Vaccines are still considered the best defense against developing COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, being hospitalized, or dying.
However, Evusheld is an alternative for people who cannot receive the vaccine.
The research on Evusheld
A 2021 studyTrusted Source at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, looked at the effectiveness of Evusheld at preventing COVID-19.
The research included 5,172 people over the age of 59 or with certain chronic health conditions. Participants had not received a vaccine, did not have a history of COVID-19, and did not test positive for it at the beginning of the trial.
Researchers kept track of whether participants were diagnosed with COVID-19 before day 183 of the trial.
Researchers reported that people who received Evusheld had a 77 percent reduced risk of developing COVID-19 compared with the group that received a placebo. The protection from Evusheld lasted for 6 months.
Additional research performed by the FDA and the Centers for Biologics Evaluation and Research looked at whether Evusheld can help in the fight against the Omicron variant.
“The study shows Evusheld retains neutralization activity against the Omicron variant. By combining two potent antibodies with different and complementary activities against the virus, Evusheld was designed to evade potential resistance with the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants,” said Menelas Pangalos, the executive vice president of biopharmaceutical research and development at AstraZeneca, in a statement.