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News: UCLH begins dosing in two Covid-19 treatment studies

The University College London Hospital has begun dosing for two clinical trials testing a long-acting antibody (LAAB or AZD7442) therapy against Covid-19. The treatment was developed by UK pharma major AstraZeneca, who also recently began the development of a Covid vaccine at Oxford University.

The primary study, called Storm Chaser, is being led by virologist Dr Catherine Houlihan. The therapy combines monoclonal antibodies, and could provide immediate and long term protection to those exposed to the virus, hopefully preventing them from developing the disease. This treatment is intended to provide quick-acting protection in cases where someone has been exposed to the virus and it is too late to offer a vaccine.

The second study, Provent, is analysing the same kind of LAAB treatment on those who might not be able to take the vaccine, or who might respond poorly to it, such as those who are immuno-compromised, or those people falling into the high risk category due to pre-existing conditions or age. This is led by UCLH infectious diseases consultant Dr Nicky Longley and is recruiting older people with conditions such as cancer and HIV.

Both studies have entered Phase III, and in both cases, the treatment is being compared to a placebo for its ability to reduce the severity of the disease, or prevent its contraction entirely for those who vaccination is not possible. Unlike a vaccine, this treatment mimics natural antibodies, giving it the potential to slow disease progression in already infected individuals. Speaking to Clinical Trials Arena, Dr Nick Longley said: “We want to reassure anyone for whom a vaccine may not work that we can offer an alternative which is just as protective.”

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