AstraZeneca antibody drug effective against BA.2, study finds

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 antibody drug Evusheld maintained effectiveness against various omicron subvariants, including BA.2, in a recent independent laboratory study, the drugmaker said March 21.

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found Evusheld retained potent neutralizing activity against omicron subvariants BA.2, BA.1 and BA.1.1. The treatment also significantly reduced virus levels and inflammation in the lungs of mice infected with each of the subvariants. 

"The findings demonstrate that Evusheld was effective at protecting against infection in the lungs, a critical disease site for severe COVID-19, across all omicron subvariants tested," study author Michael Diamond, MD, PhD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor in the departments of medicine, molecular microbiology, pathology and immunology at Washington University, said in a news release. 

The research was published in the preprint server BioRxiv and has not been peer reviewed.

The findings come amid expert projections that BA.2 could cause an uptick in U.S. COVID-19 cases and warnings from the federal government that it will have to stop buying monoclonal antibody treatments to provide to Americans free of cost if Congress fails to provide more emergency funding.

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