Canada signs new COVID-19 antibody treatment agreement

OTTAWA – The Government of Canada has signed an agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to purchase 100,000 doses of COVID-19 antibody therapy that is still under review by Health Canada.

A release from Procurement and Public Services Canada says the antibody therapy, known as Evusheld, is a pre-exposure precaution for COVID-19.

Evusheld is being considered by Health Canada for use in specific high-risk groups of patients, such as those who are immunocompromised.

The US-based Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the product in December.

The FDA says the drug is only approved for use in people who are not currently infected with COVID-19 and who are moderately to severely immunocompromised or have a history of serious adverse reactions to the vaccine. ask for COVID-19.

The FDA says one dose of Evusheld, given as two separate intramuscular injections, “may be effective for six months of pre-exposure prophylaxis.”

Health Canada began the licensing process for Evusheld in November after receiving data from AstraZeneca. The agency said it reviews submissions through an independent process and authorizes products based on “scientific rigor and medical evidence.”

Procurement and Public Service Canada says initial deliveries of the Evosheld will be expected within a month of being authorized.

Public Health Canada will then coordinate distribution and distribution with the provinces and territories.

Filomena Tassi, Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement, said in a statement Wednesday that vaccines continue to be “the most important tool we have to combat the severe outcomes from COVID– 19.”

“However, while vaccines provide excellent protection, immunocompromised individuals may need additional protection against COVID-19.

“That’s why our government continues to develop therapeutics and preventive therapies to protect the health of everyone living in Canada.”

This Canadian Press report was first published on February 23, 2022.

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