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The drug is being tested for early treatment of patients who are at high risk of being taken to hospital

Coronavirus: Antibody treatment trial to move to next phase © Getty Images

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology have announced the trial of their potential coronavirus treatment will move on to phase three. In this phase, the treatment will be tested for safety and effectiveness through intravenous infusion.

The Comet-Ice (COVID-19 monoclonal antibody efficacy trial-intent to care early) study is evaluating antibody treatment Vir-7831 for the early treatment of COVID-19 in patients who are at high risk of being taken to hospital.

Antibodies are proteins the body makes when an infection occurs and vaccines trick the body into thinking there is an infection so it makes these antibodies. But it can take weeks for COVID-19 immunity to form after natural infection or a vaccine.

Vir-7831 (also known as GSK4182136) is a fully human antibody that was selected based on its ability to neutralise SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It is thought to kill infected cells, provide a high barrier to resistance, and achieve high concentrations in the lungs.

Read more about antibody treatments:

Following encouraging results from earlier stages of the trial, the study will now expand globally to additional sites in North America, South America and Europe.

“The rapid achievement of this important milestone reflects the urgency with which we’re mobilising our resources in the hope of preventing the worst consequences of this deadly virus,” said George Scangos, chief executive officer of Vir.

“Vir-7831 is an antibody with characteristics that may enable it to prevent hospitalisation or death via multiple mechanisms. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with GSK to accelerate its development.”

Initial results may be available as early as the end of 2020, with complete results anticipated in January 2021.


Prashant Tambe
Prashant Tambe
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