AstraZeneca shares surge on EU greenlight

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  • The EMA has approved the use of Evusheld for the treatment of patients with Covid-19.
  • The drug has so far only been used for Covid prevention in Europe.

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AstraZeneca promotions rose today after its Covid-19 antibody treatment received a green light from EU regulators.

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Pharmaceutical giant FTSE 100 said the European Medicines Agency has approved the use of Evusheld to treat adults and adolescents with the virus.

Earlier this year, the EMA allowed AstraZeneca to sell the drug for Covid prevention only. For this purpose, it is already available in most European countries.

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Japan is the only country that has approved Evusheld for both prevention and treatment of C19.

It works by giving people with weakened immune systems who can’t make their own antibodies to fight viruses some protection against Covid.

However, after successful trials, the EMA said the drug could also be used to treat those infected with the virus who “do not require supplemental oxygen and are at increased risk of progressing to severe Covid-19.”

The recommendations of the regulatory body are usually followed by the European Commission when making the final decision on drug approval.

AstraZeneca promotions rose 3% in early trading on Friday but were flat at £101.22 by market close.

Last month, Japan became the first country to approve Evusheld for both prevention and treatment of Covid-19.

“Across the world, work is underway to apply for both prevention and treatment,” AZ said.

The group is relying on Evusheld to offset the slowdown in sales of its Covid vaccine.

The drug, first released to the market in December, helped it earn $914m (£803m) in sales in the first half of the year.

Separately today, the EMA also approved an experimental drug by AstraZeneca and its partner Sanofi for the treatment of respiratory conditions.

The regulator said that Beyfortus could be sold in Europe for the prevention of lower respiratory tract infections caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

RSV causes thousands of hospitalizations and deaths worldwide each year in toddlers and the elderly.

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