The U.S. government has agreed to buy more doses of an antibody drug for the early treatment of Covid-19 developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology bringing its total order to nearly $1 billion for a treatment found to reduce the risk of hospitalization.
Even as vaccination rates tick up, antibody drugs, which imitate part of the body’s natural immune response to the virus, have proven useful in fighting Covid-19 and preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed when cases surge.
drug, sotrovimab, was granted emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration in May. It was shown in a trial to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 79% in adults with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 at high risk of progressing to severe disease. The company said laboratory tests showed the antibody was still effective against the Delta variant, which has been dominant in the U.S. since July.
The latest U.S. government contract is worth $651.1 million and covers around 300,000 doses, according to a person familiar with the agreement. It adds to an earlier order worth $279.9 million. Glaxo said it would deliver the doses by Dec. 17.