AstraZeneca files for Health Canada approval of new COVID-19 therapy

TORONTO — Drugmaker AstraZeneca has filed for Health Canada’s approval of its new therapy to prevent symptomatic COVID-19.

The therapy, called AZD7442, is a long-acting antibody treatment derived from donated B-cells, which are a type of immune cell, from convalescent patients after SARS-CoV-2 for the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19, according to a press release.

Its approval would mark the first treatment of its kind to receive Health Canada approval for COVID-19 prevention.

In August, AstraZeneca announced results from its trial which showed that AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by 77 per cent compared to the placebo. The trial included participants with comorbidities who may need additional protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection, the release states.

The preliminary findings show that AZD7442 has broad anti-COVID-19 protection, including from the variants known as Mu and Delta.

“This [treatment] is an important option, especially for vulnerable populations like those who are immune-compromised and often aren’t able to mount a protective response following vaccination,” said Dr. Alex Romanovschi, vice president of scientific affairs at AstraZeneca Canada in the release. “With this Health Canada filing, we are one step closer to providing an additional long-lasting option to help protect against COVID-19 alongside vaccines.”

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