The use of the monoclonal antibody Evusheld, developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca against covid-19, has been suspended in the United States, following a decision by the federal agency Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The measure was taken after the discovery of evidence indicating the drug’s lack of effectiveness against the XBB.1.5 strain of the coronavirus — dubbed the Kraken variant.
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Today, the XBB.1.5 subvariant is predominant in the United States, while the number of cases is increasing in other countries, such as Brazil. At the moment, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has not issued any updates on the use of this synthetic antibody against covid-19 in the country.
It is worth remembering that, in November last year, the FDA also suspended the use of another monoclonal antibody, Bebtelovimab, by Eli Lilly. At the time, the justification was also related to the loss of effectiveness of the formula against new strains of the covid-19 virus.
Monoclonal antibody and the new strains of covid-19
Similar to first-generation vaccines against covid-19, monoclonal antibodies were developed from the original virus, discovered in the city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Since then, the infectious agent has undergone different types of mutations, which has limited the effectiveness of some formulas and medications.
In the field of vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna have already developed updated and bivalent vaccines against strains descended from Omicron. The process tends to be the same for monoclonal antibodies, if they plan to remain relevant in the current epidemiological scenario.
According to the Reuters news agency, AstraZeneca will continue to share relevant information and discoveries about the use of the drug Evusheld against covid-19 for health agencies in the world, including the FDA.