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The Making of Medicine

Antibody Cocktail Offers Long-Lasting COVID-19 Protection

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals this morning announced that its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, tested right here at the School of Medicine, offered substantial protection for at least 8 months, cutting the risk of infection among recipients by 81.6%.

During the eight-month assessment period, none of the patients who received the cocktail were hospitalized. That's compared with six hospitalizations among trial participants who received a placebo. There were no deaths in either group.

The new analysis looked at the results from 1,683 people who were not infected with COVID-19 and did not have antibodies to the virus. The risk reduction over eight months aligns with the 81.4% reduction seen in the first month after administration of the drug, Regeneron reported in a news release.

Our William A. Petri Jr., MD, who helped lead UVA's testing of the drug, said the durable protection could be good news for immunocompromised people who do not develop a robust response to COVID-19 vaccination. Such folks might be given the drug periodically -- perhaps annually -- to provide them better protection, he said.

The antibody cocktail was first authorized in the United States in November for use in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Federal regulators then expanded its use in July, allowing doctors to use it as a prophylactic treatment in people exposed to COVID-19 and those at high risk of exposure, such as nursing home residents.

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