MOH in advanced talks with AstraZeneca on the possible purchase of a drug to treat Covid-19, Singapore News & Top Stories – archyde

SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Health (MOH) is in advanced talks with AstraZeneca about the possible purchase of its antibody drug to treat Covid-19.

In response to inquiries from the Straits Times on Friday (Nov. 19), MOH said it is closely monitoring the progress of Covid-19 therapeutic candidates in development around the world.

However, citing commercial sensitivities and confidentiality commitments, MOH said it was unable to disclose any further information about the talks.

The answer comes after that Study results on AstraZeneca’s drug cocktail AZD7442, was released by the company on Thursday and show that it can reduce patients’ risk of developing a severe form of the disease or dying by as much as 88 percent when administered within three days of symptoms appearing.

AZD7442 is made up of two antibodies obtained from antibody-producing B cells donated by convalescent or convalescent Covid-19 patients.

Both antibodies have been modified to provide lasting protection for up to a year in patients receiving the drug for treatment and about six months in those receiving the drug for prevention.

The clinical trial enrolled patients with mild to moderate Covid-19, about 90 percent of whom had other conditions such as cancer or diabetes, which puts them at high risk of developing a severe form of the disease.

More than 900 participants from 13 countries took part in the study known as Tackle. Half of them received the drug while the other half received a placebo, the company added.

AstraZeneca, whose Covid-19 vaccine is widely used around the world, had on October 5th filed an application with the US Food and Drug Administration for the emergency approval for AZD7442 as a preventive treatment.

The company had agreed to ship 700,000 cans of AZD7442 to the US government if approved.

AstraZeneca’s new drug complements its current arsenal of monoclonal antibodies, with companies like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) also developing similar therapies to treat mild to moderate Covid-19.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made drugs that mimic the role of antibodies in fighting the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

Regeneron said on November 8th that his antibody cocktail could reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 by 81.6 percent in the two to eight month period after the administration of the drug, according to its late phase.

Similarly, GSK’s antibody showed sotrovimab, which was developed with Vir a 79 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalizations and death.

Both drugs have received preliminary approval from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) under the Pandemic Special Access Route for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 in patients at risk of developing the severe form of the disease.

Singapore also has signed a supply agreement with Merck for its antiviral pill capable of halving the chances of hospitalizations and deaths for those at risk of serious illness.

Merck, known as MSD outside of the US and Canada, and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics would have to submit the drug’s data to the HSA for evaluation for use here.

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