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EU regulator advises COVID drug be authorised

LONDON (AP) – The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Thursday it was recommending that an antibody medication developed by AstraZeneca be authorised to help some vulnerable people avoid getting sick with the coronavirus.

EMA said in a statement that it was advising the use of the new drug, sold as Evusheld, in people age 12 and over before they were exposed to COVID-19 to prevent future infections.

It is now up to the European Union’s (EU) executive arm, the European Commission, to officially authorise the drug. EMA said the drug’s side effects were mostly mild, with some people reporting reactions at the injection point.

The agency noted that research was done before the emergence of the hugely infectious Omicron variant and said that it was evaluating data to determine if a different dose might be needed.

Although antibody drugs have been a standard treatment for treating COVID-19 infections for more than a year, AstraZeneca’s is the first intended for long-term prevention against COVID-19 infection rather than as a short-term treatment.