A nurse prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 during the first day of the application of the third dose to people over 60 years-old at the Centro de Estudios Superiores Navales (CENCIS) in Mexico City, on December 7, 2021. AFP
AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, which is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, tixagevimab and cilgavimab, was granted the first emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 8 December.
Evusheld is for the pre-exposure prevention of COVID-19 in certain adults and pediatric individuals aged 12 and above and weighing at least 40 kg, according to the FDA.
The agreement makes Egypt the second country in the Middle East, and one of the first in the world to acquire Evusheld for immunocompromised patients, the company's statement added.
"Today's [Monday] signing highlights our unwavering commitment to delivering uninterrupted, innovative medical solutions to Egypt and the Middle East region… We are proud to join the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population in stepping up the fight against COVID-19 by supporting the unmet needs of vulnerable patient and ensuring all Egyptians can be protected from the virus," Dr. Hatem El-Werdany, CEO of AstraZeneca International in Egypt, said.
The AstraZeneca’s statement said that the product is intended to protect vulnerable populations who may be unable to mount an adequate immune response following COVID-19 vaccination, and to help prevent progression to severe disease if individuals do become infected.
According to the FDA, one dose of Evusheld, administered as two separate consecutive intramuscular injections in immediate succession, can provide protection for up to six months.
While vaccines work by inducing healthy immune systems to generate the necessary antibodies, Evusheld depends on providing the body with lab-made antibodies that will protect it from infection.
Pre-exposure prevention with Evusheld, however, is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended, the FDA noted.
The FDA’s emergency use authorization of the Evusheld earlier in December comes after positive results from two phase 3 trials, where AstraZeneca’s drug was able to reduce the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 by 83% compared to placebo over six months in one of the trials.
Evusheld is not the first AstraZeneca product Egypt has acquired, as the country has received tens of millions of AstaZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over the course of the last two years which contributed to providing the citizens with more than 45 million doses of different vaccines.