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AstraZeneca’s new COVID-19 drug to be manufactured in Sweden

The last manufacturing steps of the company's Evusheld (previously AZD7442) will take place in Södertälje, Sweden. Packaging and release of the potential new drug, a combination of long-acting antibodies that both prevent and treat COVID-19, has already begun in Södertälje – AstraZeneca's largest facility within its global production network. The plan is to increase production to 24-hour operation, seven days a week. The increase is intended to create 60 new jobs. "We are very pleased that Sweden Operations in Södertälje has been selected for this priority task. Our skilled staff are highly motivated to make this new medicine available to patients around the world, says Jim Fox, Head of AstraZeneca Sweden Operations. About Evusheld Evusheld, formerly known as AZD7442 is a combination of two LAABs - tixagevimab (AZD8895) and cilgavimab (AZD1061) - derived from B-cells donated by convalescent patients after SARS-CoV-2 virus. Discovered by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and licensed to AstraZeneca in June 2020, the human monoclonal antibodies bind to distinct sites on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein13 and were optimised by AstraZeneca with half-life extension and reduced Fc receptor and complement C1q binding. The half-life extension more than triples the durability of its action compared to conventional antibodies and could afford up to 12 months of protection from COVID-19 following a single administration; 14-16 data from the Phase III PROVENT trial show protection lasting at least six months. The reduced Fc receptor binding aims to minimise the risk of antibody-dependent enhancement of disease - a phenomenon in which virus-specific antibodies promote, rather than inhibit, infection and/or disease.18  Evusheld is delivered as an IM dose of 150mg tixagevimab and 150mg cilgavimab administered in two separate, consecutive injections. December 8th 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Application (EUA) for Evusheld for pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 in adults and adolescents (aged 12 and older who weigh 40kg or more) with moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or immunosuppressive medications and who may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, as well as those individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is not recommended. Recipients should not be currently infected with or had recent known exposure to a person infected with SARS-CoV-2. Photo: AstraZeneca Södertälje
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