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The dual-antibody treatment worked best on patients who did not mount an immune system response to the virus. The company had previously created a successful treatment for Ebola.
US biotech firm Regeneron said Tuesday that its antibody cocktail for nonhospitalized coronavirus patients looked promising following early trials.
"We are highly encouraged by the robust and consistent nature of these initial data," said George Yancopoulos, the company's president and chief scientific officer. "We have begun discussing our findings with regulatory authorities while continuing our ongoing trial."
The Food and Drug Association (FDA), a federal agency which oversees protecting and promoting public health in the US, can authorize a drug for emergency use before completing a review for formal approval.
The New York-based company said the patients who saw the greatest benefit of the treatment, known as REGN-COV2, were the ones who had not mounted their own effective immune response.
The median time for symptom relief in patients was 13 days for the placebo group, eight days for the high-dose group and six days for the low-dose group.
The study involved 275 patients, who were randomized to receive a low dose or high dose of the medication, or a placebo. They were also classed by whether their bodies had mounted their own defense system. The study suggested that the two-dose treatment could work for patients whose immune system cannot fight the virus on its own.
Regeneron said the dual-antibody formula will limit the ability of the virus to escape detection in the body. The company said it would recruit 1,300 patients for the next stages of the outpatient trial. It is concurrently running late-stage trials for hospitalized COVID-19 patients and for the drug's potential as a prophylaxis or preventative treatment.
The US government in June awarded Regeneron a $450 million (€383 million) supply contract for up to 300,000 doses for the antibody treatment.
Last year, a triple antibody treatment plan developed by Regeneron was shown to be effective against the Ebola virus.
kbd/dr (AFP, Reuters)