Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Authorized for Immunocompromised Persons

December 9, 2021

Last night, the FDA authorized a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment by AstraZeneca for immunocompromised individuals, who did not produce sufficient antibodies following vaccination. This includes patients taking immunosuppressants. Evusheld was specifically developed to metabolize over a matter of months – perhaps up to six – meaning it offers longer-lasting protection against COVID-19.

Evusheld differs from other monoclonal antibody treatments, such as Eli Lilly’s or Merck’s, in that it is administered as a long-acting prophylactic (disease preventative) as opposed to being a treatment for those already infected by Covid or short-term protective treatment. Evusheld is not authorized for those already infected with COVID-19, nor those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

In its clinical trial, AstraZeneca’s Evusheld reduced the risk of symptomatic infection by 83%; these results included both immunocompromised and immunocompetent participants. The treatment includes two separate intramuscular injections given back-to-back, each with one monoclonal antibody. “Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. Tixagevimab and cilgavimab are long-acting monoclonal antibodies that are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells. Tixagevimab and cilgavimab bind to different, non-overlapping sites on the spike protein of the virus.”

Evusheld will be available for certain adults as well as pediatric patients 12+ years of age.