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Regeneron's COVID-19 antibody drug may be less effective against Omicron

WorldNov 30, 2021 12:26PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company logo is seen on a building at the company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Mrinalika Roy

(Reuters) -Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc's COVID-19 antibody drug could be less effective against Omicron, it said on Tuesday, adding to fears about the efficacy of existing treatments after Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA)'s top boss raised similar concerns about the company's vaccine.

Global markets tumbled after comments from Moderna's chief executive officer rekindled worries that the variant may weigh on a nascent global economic recovery.

Based on its study of Omicron's individual mutations, "there may be reduced neutralization activity of both vaccine-induced and monoclonal antibody conveyed immunity", Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) said, adding that the analysis included its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV.

The company said it was doing further study to quantify the potential impact using the variant's genetic sequence.

One of the antibodies used in the treatment will likely take a hit, the other less so, CEO Len Schleifer said in a CNBC interview.

"Just like vaccines will have to adapt, we're probably going to have to constantly adapt our monoclonals."

Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Co, which makes a similar monoclonal antibody treatment, is also working to understand neutralization activity of its therapies on Omicron, the company told Reuters in an e-mailed statement.

Regeneron shares fell about 3% in morning trading, while those of Lilly shed 2.5%.

Rival Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ:VIR) Inc said based on the Omicron sequence its antibody therapy, sotrovimab, will likely maintain potency against the variant.

The company is "working to confirm this in the lab as a matter of urgency", it added.

Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD) Inc said it believed its intravenous therapy, Remdesivir, currently the only antiviral approved for treating COVID-19, will continue to be effective against currently identified variants, including Omicron

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration said on Tuesday it was evaluating the effectiveness of authorized COVID-19 vaccines against Omicron and was expecting to have more information in the next few weeks.[nL4N2SL3Y8]

Regeneron's COVID-19 antibody drug may be less effective against Omicron
 

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Comments (1)
Kurt Craig
Kurt Craig Nov 30, 2021 8:10AM ET
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Have we ever thought that perhaps companies/individuals are trying to capitalize on the Covid virus...just a thought
Debdipta Biswas
Debdipta Biswas Nov 30, 2021 8:10AM ET
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Especially when every Covid variants are evolving to become 'weaker'. Not a single Omicron affected patients have required hospitalizations so far!
 
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