Mar 25, 2024 - Health

FDA authorizes drug to boost COVID protection for immunocompromised patients

Illustration of a shield with a monoclonal antibody image in the center

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new monoclonal antibody is available to help protect immunocompromised patients against COVID-19, filling a gap for a group that remains vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's been more than a year since the FDA pulled the last antibody from the market, Evusheld, because new variants had rendered it ineffective.

Driving the news: The FDA on Friday granted an emergency use authorization for Invivyd's antibody Pemgarda to help bolster immune defenses in patients 12 and older who have a medical condition or are receiving immunosuppressive medications that may render vaccines less effective.

  • The therapy was authorized solely as a preventive measure, and not as a treatment for COVID infection or protection for a recent exposure to an infected patient.
  • Invivyd, which hasn't yet listed a price for the antibody, said it will be available in the U.S. "imminently."

Yes, but: When Evusheld was available, limited awareness of the treatment meant it was often underused, even though an estimated 7-10 million Americans have weakened immune systems.

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