FDA approves new treatment to prevent COVID-19 for some people

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- The Food and Drug Administration has authorized a new treatment from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca that could help prevent COVID-19.

This new treatment, EVUSHELD, is an injectable. It’s two shots given at the same time.

It was created to address the immune systems of people who despite vaccinations and boosters still can’t build up protection against COVID-19.

Dr. Cameron Wolfe at Duke Health said that group, which makes up 2 to 3 percent of the population, could benefit from a new pre-treatment shot. That includes at-risk people like transplant or chemotherapy patients.

“I think you sort of really helped these people two times over,” said Wolfe.

AstraZeneca’s EVUSHELD will soon be available. The pre-treatment reduces the risk of infection by 77 percent and lasts for six months.

“So, it’s a small group of people for whom they’re used for, but those people are often really the ones who you least want to get COVID,” said Wolfe.

Wolfe said hospital systems like his are already preparing to receive doses that will be limited at first.

“What we’re doing in the hospital system here at Duke Health is to say, we need to prioritize patients who we know, truly don’t respond to vaccines — and that’s not every immunosuppressed person,” said Wolfe.

You should wait two weeks after getting your COVID-19 shot before getting this new treatment shot. The FDA and Wolfe make it clear: this is no replacement for a vaccine.

“This is not something that people who’ve chosen voluntarily to not get vaccinated and should expect that they can just turn up and receive as an alternative,” he explained.

On top of vaccines, boosters, and masking, EVUSHELD, is another layer of protection.

“These are all about graded steps to try and reduce risk,” Wolfe said.

AstraZeneca still needs to ship out the doses so it may take a few days for them to get to your doctor’s office. Wolfe said it was a good idea to check in with your doctor to see if they have a plan or timeline for their shipment.

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