US signs agreement with AstraZeneca to develop COVID-19 antibody treatment

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The US government on Friday signed an agreement with AstraZeneca Plc worth $486 million to develop and secure supplies of up to 100 000 doses of COVID-19 antibody treatment, a similar class of drugs that was used to treat President Donald Trump.

The US health agency will provide the funding to AstraZeneca for two Phase 3 clinical trials under operation Warp Speed, which is aimed at speeding up treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

One trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the experimental treatment to prevent infection for up to 12 months, in about 5 000 participants, while the second trial will evaluate post-exposure preventative and pre-emptive treatment in roughly 1 100 participants.

AstraZeneca said it plans to supply up to 100 000 doses starting towards the end of 2020 and the US Government can acquire up to an additional one million doses in 2021 under a separate agreement.

In a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Trump credited Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s therapeutic for his recovery. Trump received Regeneron’s treatment last week after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.