The trial AstraZeneca has announced makes it a unique player in the fight against COVID-19. It’s the only company thus far to bring both an experimental vaccine and antibody drug into human studies.
Much of the attention has gone to AstraZeneca’s vaccine, a shot developed by the University of Oxford that is at the forefront of the global race for a preventive treatment. It’s one of just three vaccines to advance to late-stage trials, and a report this past weekend indicated that the White House is considering it as a candidate for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration as early as next month. (AstraZeneca, according to Politico, denied any talks were taking place.)
But the British firm is now firmly entrenched into the burgeoning coronavirus antibody drug race as well. The pace is being set by Regeneron and Eli Lilly, which both have experimental treatments in late-stage trials. But AstraZeneca is among the next wave of coronavirus antibody developers, which also include Vir Biotechnology, AbbVie, Amgen, and startup Adagio Therapeutics. AstraZeneca is the first of that group to get to human trials.
Treating COVID-19 Could Lead to Increased Antimicrobial Resistance
Patients hospitalised as a result of the virus are being given a combination of medications to prevent possible secondary bacterial infections.However, research by the University of Plymouth and Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust suggests their increased use during the pandemic could be placing an additional burden on waste water treatment works.
Writing in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, scientists say this could lead to raised levels of antibiotics within the UK’s rivers or coastal waters which may in turn result in an increase in antimicrobial resistance (AMR), where bacteria become resistant to the action of antibiotics.This would be particularly acute in receiving waters from waste water treatment works serving large hospitals, or emergency ‘Nightingale’ hospitals, where there is a concentration of COVID-19 patients.The findings are based on reports that up to 95% of COVID-19 inpatients are being prescribed antibiotics as part of their treatment, and concerns that such a large-scale drug administration could have wider environmental implications.