HALF a million immunocompromised Brits may soon get an antibody shot that is as effective as vaccines at halting Covid.
The jab, developed by AstraZeneca, works in patients with a weakened immune system who often fail to respond to inoculation.
A trial of the antibody cocktail Evusheld found it offered 83 per cent protection against the virus over six months.
It has now been approved for use by the UK regulator the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Experts said it could offer the first real alternative for vulnerable adults who have limited protection from vaccination, such as blood cancer and transplant patients.
Penny Ward, Visiting Professor in Pharmaceutical Medicine at King’s College London, said: “It is a good day for the immune-compromised who can at last access a product which may offer them the protection the rest of us have been enjoying post vaccination.
“Let us hope the NHS has ordered enough to offer this to all that can benefit.” The treatment, which is a combination of two long-acting antibodies, is given as two separate shots in the arm.
Around 500,000 Brit adults are thought to have a weakened immune system.
Principal investigator Hugh Montgomery, professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, said this group is now at greater risk after measures were lifted.
He added: “For some, our new freedoms impose a prison sentence: they do not mount adequate antibody responses to vaccines, meaning that they are more vulnerable to Covid infection.
“So this is good news for all those patients, if the antibodies can be made available in the UK now that it has been approved for use.”
But there are concerns the therapy may be less effective against Omicron than previous Covid strains.
Ministers are now waiting for fresh lab data before deciding on rollout.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “This is welcome news from our renowned medicines regulator and we will continue to closely monitor investigations into the treatment’s effectiveness against new variants.”
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