Sweden authorises use of new drug for Covid prevention

Stockholm: A new Covid prophylactic from AstraZeneca has been authorised for use in Sweden.

Evusheld has been licensed recently for prescription to individuals who, due to underlying medical conditions, have not developed satisfying protection against Covid despite being vaccinated, Xinhua news agency reported citing Sweden’s Medical Products Agency.

The drug will be available to cancer patients treated with cytotoxic drugs, patients on dialysis, those taking immunosuppressive medication following an organ transplant, and those with diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

“Despite vaccines being available, thousands of people in Sweden have not been able to return to a more normal everyday life and are not able to meet relatives or participate in social events,” Anna-Lena Engwall, AstraZeneca’s Country President Nordic and Sweden, said in a press release recently.

According to the company, three million immunocompromised people in the European Union alone could benefit from the drug.

Evusheld, which is administered as two intramuscular injections, combines two antibodies that bind to the spike protein of the virus, thereby preventing it from entering cells and multiplying.

A Phase III trial has shown a 77 per cent reduction in the risk of developing Covid symptoms, with protection lasting at least six months.

The company said it was also effective against the highly transmissible BA.2 Omicron subvariant, which has become the dominant strain in many European countries.

This is also the case in Sweden, where the Public Health Agency last week said that 93 per cent of sequenced samples were linked to the subvariant.

Sweden has so far confirmed some 2.48 million Covid cases.

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