The greatest improvement was seen in patients who had not already had a natural response to the infection, the company said.
The results include only 275 patients, but appear “very promising”, said Dr., director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Jean Marzezzo told CNN.
The company said the treatment showed a positive trend in reducing medical visits for patients, none of whom were ill enough to be hospitalized. The numbers were small in this initial release of information and the data has not yet been reviewed. Only topline data was available in the news released by the company.
A company spokesperson said the data validated the treatment as a therapeutic option for a natural response to the virus.
Marrazzo said what was for him was that patients were characterized by their immune response prior to the study and determined who did what and what did not benefit.
“I think that’s fascinating to show that antibodies really matter and antibodies to spike proteins were really helpful, especially when people made the antibodies themselves,” Marrajo said. “Whether it is antibody therapy or vaccines that target these proteins, it seems that we are on the right track. I think it is really encouraging.”
She was also encouraged by the reduction in the amount of virus in people’s throats, which in theory could reduce the risk of infecting others. “If it plays out and you can treat people quickly and actually reduce the viral load in the nasopharynx, and they can be less contagious, that would be extremely helpful,” Marrajo said.
Because the company released the information in a news release and not as a scientific report, it is unclear who was enrolled in the study and how reflective they were of the population. The treatment will be tested in many more to establish how well it works. Scientists would also like to know how many of the patients who needed to be hospitalized needed treatment.
An infectious disease specialist with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Drs. Claudia Hoyen also sees the result as “promising”. There are no security concerns in the data, she said, and preliminary data looks good so far.
“It seems safe, and it seems to be headed in the right direction in terms of reducing virologic load and, it seems, has some initial correlation with fewer symptoms and less hospitalization,” Hoyen said. “But even then, they still have a lot of patients who know for sure.”
Marrazzo and Hoyen find that antibody treatments can be helpful during the transition period, before everyone can be vaccinated. Treatment can also be a real help in patient populations who do not produce a real strong immune response to the vaccine, such as patients who are in nursing homes or other elderly people.
Regeneron said there will be more data coming from this test, including testing for hospitalized patients, and one that is testing antibody cocktails as a prevention for people who have contact with someone at home, Those who have Kovid-19.