A cocktail drug of two antibodies “can almost completely block establishment” of the novel coronavirus in monkeys and hamsters, according to a prepublication copy of a study on the therapy.
REGN-COV2, developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, “can greatly reduce virus load in lower and upper airway” when administered either as a preventive measure or treatment after infection, according to the study by a team from Regeneron, Southwest National Primate Research Center/Texas Biomedical Research Institute and science research company BIOQUAL.
The study was published on BioRxiv, an open access repository for biological research that has yet to be peer reviewed.
A Phase 3 clinical trial of REGN-COV2 was begun on July 6 to evaluate its “ability to prevent infection among uninfected people who have had close exposure to a COVID-19 patient (such as the patient's housemate), and (was) being run jointly with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),” Regeneron said in a release.
The study used 12 rhesus macaques of Indian origin and 50 golden hamsters to test the drug.
“For animals receiving REGN-COV2 prophylaxis (preventative) we observed markedly accelerated clearance … in the majority of the animals, showing that REGN-COV2 can almost completely block establishment of virus infection,” it said regarding the monkeys.
“The two hamster studies clearly demonstrate that REGN-COV2 can alter the course of infection in the hamster model of SARS-COV-2 either when administered prophylactically or therapeutically,” it added.
“Our results demonstrated that the antibodies are efficacious in both animal models, as measured by reduced viral load in the upper and lower airways, reduced virus induced pathology in the rhesus macaque model, and by limited weight loss in the hamster model.”
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