BFF-03 Regeneron works on UK, S.African Covid variants: company

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BFF-03

HEALTH-VIRUS-US-PHARMACEUTICAL-TREATMENT

Regeneron works on UK, S.African Covid variants: company

WASHINGTON, Jan 28, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Regeneron’s synthetic antibody
treatment remains effective against the British and South African variants of
the novel coronavirus, the US biotechnology company announced Wednesday.

The therapy used on ex-president Donald Trump has had emergency approval
since November for people with mild to moderate symptoms and a high risk of
becoming seriously ill.

REGEN-COV — featuring potent neutralizing antibodies called imdevimab and
casirivimab — remained effective against both variants, the company said in
a statement, although casirivimab’s potency against the South African variant
was “reduced.”

Scientists from New York’s Columbia University arrived at the same
conclusion, and their study has been submitted for peer review.

Regeneron expects its antibody treatment will also be effective against the
new Brazilian variant, since its mutations are similar to those of the
British variant. Studies are underway to confirm this.

“These data show the continued ability of REGEN-COV to neutralize emerging
strains, further validating our multi-antibody cocktail approach to
infectious diseases,” said George Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s president and
chief scientific officer.

“With two complementary antibodies in one therapeutic, even if one has
reduced potency, the risk of the cocktail losing efficacy is significantly
diminished.

“We have hundreds of additional potent, neutralizing antibodies in our labs
that could form new combinations that might be useful against future
variants,” he added.

Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, mutates
constantly as it reproduces.

But the mutation observed in the South African variant is particularly
worrying to scientists due to its ability to bypass the remedies developed so
far.

The US had confirmed 308 cases of the British variant as of January 26 and
one case of the Brazilian variant, Rochelle Walensky, the new head of the US
Centers for Disease Control, said Wednesday.

No cases of the South African variant have yet to be confirmed in the US.

BSS/AFP/FI/ 0825 hrs