An Arkansas health care research center has been selected to study a new COVID-19 prevention agent.
Baptist Health Center for Clinical Research is one of two locations in the United States that will be studying a prevention agent that uses two monoclonal antibodies, as opposed to a vaccine.
“We are preparing to start the COVID-19 prevention trial in a matter of days,” says, Baptist Health Center for Clinical Research CEO and president Richard G. Pellegrino MD, PhD said in a statement. “Participants must be over 18 and there is no upper limit to participate. This is not a vaccine. Instead the antibodies bind to the COVID-19 spike protein and prevent COVID from replicating and thereby prevent disease. Of the participants, 67 percent will get the antibody in the form of a shot and 33 percent of participants will receive the placebo.”
This antibody combination, from AstraZeneca, is advancing into Phase III clinical trials. There will be approximately 5,000 participants both in and outside the United States.
AstraZeneca’s antibody combination, named AZD7442, is designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 resistance while remaining effective for six to 12 months. The company plans a second trial phase, which will focus on post-exposure prophylaxis and pre-emptive treatment, evaluating roughly 1,100 participants.
As part of the development of this prevention agent, AstraZeneca reports that it has received approximately $486 million from the federal government to develop and create a supply of the agent. The company is expected to supply 100,000 doses with the U.S. government having the option to acquire up to one million more doses in 2021.
According to Baptist Health Center for Clinical Research’s website, the first study is expected to last approximately 25 months. Researchers are looking to evaluate the safety of the monoclonal antibodies to prevent COVID-19 infection for up to 12 months.
The research center is currently seeking participants for the trial study. Participants would be required to visit the research office eight times and would be compensated with study-related care provided by no cost.