The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has reportedly manufactured a new treatment, called Evusheld, which has been described as an anti-body based cocktail.
It was tested in an independent lab study, which looked at the drug’s effect on “cousins” of the Omicron variant following a surge in global cases.
Data from Washington University’s study showed that the therapy slashed the amount of virus detected in samples (viral load) of every Omicron sub-variant that was tested in mice lungs.
The sub-variants of Omicron that Evusheld was tested against include BA.1, BA.1.1, and BA.2.
The study results, which have yet to be peer reviewed, showed that the drug limited inflammation in the lungs, which is one of the most dangerous symptoms of a severe COVID-19 infection.
John Perez, head of Late Development, Vaccines & Immune Therapies at AstraZeneca, said: “The findings further support Evusheld as a potential important option to help protect vulnerable patients such as the immunocompromised who could face poor outcomes if they were to become infected with COVID -19. “
This comes after trials of Evusheld showed that the drug slashed the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by 77 percent, according to The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), after it approved the treatment for preventing infections in adults with weak immune response .
The MHRA also said that protection lasted for at least six months after a single dose, administered as two injections
The drug has already been approved in the US, France and other places.
It uses a combination of two long-acting antibodies that bind to the spike protein on the outside of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.
This then helps to stop the virus from attaching to and entering human cells.
Evusheld has also been shown to provide vital help within the first week of symptoms, prevent disease progression and helping to save lives.
This also comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the alarm over surging COVID-19 cases, with Omicron and BA.2 variants spread rapidly while much of the world scraps restrictions.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 18 countries in the European region that have lifted nearly all virus measures.
And a report published by the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that mortality is still going up in 10 countries due to the spread of the Omicron variant.
BA.2 has been described as a “stealth” variant as it has genetic mutations that might make it harder to differentiate it from the delta variant using PCR tests, compared to BA.1, the original sublineage.
Dr Catherine Smallwood, WHO’s COVID-19 incident manager for Europe, said we can expect cases to “increase as countries lift the measures”.
The UK has lifted the vast majority of the last remaining Covid restrictions.
But in England alone, 4.87 percent, the same as around 2.1 million or one in 20 people, were thought to have been infected with the virus last week.
Hospitalizations also. went up to about to13 per 100,000 people in England last week, up from 11 per 100,000 the week before.
It comes as the Government scraps the remaining restrictions on travel.
According to the ONS, the prevalence of the omicron BA.2 sublineage went up last week across England, Scotland and Wales.
This is a breaking story. More to follow.