Regeneron says its antibody treatment ‘may be’ less effective against omicron

COVID-19

Dr. Aldo Calvo, Medical Director of Family Medicine at Broward Health, shows a Regeneron monoclonal antibody infusion bag during a news conference Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 at the Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

(The Hill) — Regeneron said Tuesday that its COVID-19 antibody treatment “may be” less effective against the new omicron variant, though tests are ongoing. 

The statement shows how the new variant is shaking up the response to COVID-19, though there is still much that is unknown. Experts worry that the current vaccines could also be less effective against the omicron variant, though that has not been confirmed and it is likely some effectiveness will still be maintained. 

Regeneron said in a statement that preliminary analyses “indicate that there may be reduced neutralization activity” from its antibody treatment. “Further analyses are ongoing to confirm and quantify this potential impact using the actual Omicron variant sequence,” the company added. 

The company added that research is ongoing on other antibody formulations that could maintain effectiveness against the new variant. Regeneron’s treatment gained some fame last year when former President Donald Trump was treated with it when he had COVID-19.

On a separate treatment front, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Monday that he has a “high level of confidence” that the company’s antiviral treatment will still be effective against the omicron variant. Pfizer’s treatment is in pill form, which could make it easier to administer, while the Regeneron treatment requires infusion. 

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel has predicated that existing vaccines will also be less effective against the omicron variant compared to previous COVID-19 strains. “There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level . . . we had with [the] Delta [variant],” Bancel told the Financial Times.

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