AstraZeneca antibody drug important as preventative COVID-19 therapy - exec

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FILE PHOTO: Exterior photos of the North America headquarters of AstraZeneca

(Reuters) - An AstraZeneca senior executive said on Monday the drugmaker's COVID-19 antibody cocktail would have a "real advantage" in preventing the coronavirus infection compared with use as a treatment, after trials showed promise in both settings.

"I don't think treatment is where we are going to be competing," Mene Pangalos, executive vice president for bio-pharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said during a media briefing.

"It's good that we know this can work in the treatment setting. If and when this is approved it will be used in the treatment setting as well. But the real differentiator for this antibody is going to be in the prophylactic setting," he said.

The experimental monoclonal antibodies therapy, called AZD7442, reduced the risk of severe COVID-19 or death by half in non-hospitalised patients who have had symptoms for seven days or less in a late-stage trial.

Pangalos added that the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker would use its existing supply chains to manufacture the antibodies and would have supplies online by the end of the year and "ready to go" by the time of approvals.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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