Regeneron says its COVID-19 antibody drug could be less effective against Omicron

Global markets tumbled following Moderna chief executive officer's comments that rekindled concerns that the variant may weigh on a nascent global economic recovery. Analysis shows the individual mutations present in Omicron indicate "there may be reduced neutralization activity of both vaccine-induced and monoclonal antibody conveyed immunity", Regeneron said, adding the analysis included its COVID-19 antibody cocktail REGEN-COV.


Reuters | Updated: 30-11-2021 20:58 IST | Created: 30-11-2021 20:58 IST
Regeneron says its COVID-19 antibody drug could be less effective against Omicron

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc's COVID-19 antibody treatment could be less effective against Omicron, the drugmaker said on Tuesday, adding to fears about the efficacy of existing treatments after Moderna's top boss raised similar concerns about the company's vaccine. Global markets tumbled following Moderna chief executive officer's comments that rekindled concerns that the variant may weigh on a nascent global economic recovery.

Analysis shows the individual mutations present in Omicron indicate "there may be reduced neutralization activity of both vaccine-induced and monoclonal antibody conveyed immunity", Regeneron said, adding the analysis included its COVID-19 antibody cocktail REGEN-COV. Analyses are ongoing to confirm and quantify the potential impact using the variant sequence, the company said.

One of the company's antibodies will likely take a hit, the other less so, Chief Executive Officer Len Schleifer said in an interview with broadcaster CNBC. "Just like vaccines will have to adapt, we're probably going to have to constantly adapt our monoclonals."

Eli Lilly and Co, which makes a similar monoclonal antibody treatment, is also working to understand neutralization activity of its therapies on Omicron, the company told Reuters in an e-mailed statement. Regeneron's shares fell about 3% in morning trading, while Lilly's stock declined 2.5%.

Rival Vir Biotechnology Inc said based on the Omicron sequence it believed that its antibody therapy, sotrovimab, will likely maintain activity and potency against the variant. The company is "working to confirm this in the lab as a matter of urgency", it added.

The World Health Organization and scientists have said it could take weeks to understand whether Omicron is likely to cause severe illness or escape protection against immunity induced by vaccines. Drugmakers are already preparing for a situation where their current vaccines are less effective against the variant, with several companies announcing on Monday that they had begun work on shots tailored for Omicron.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback