Vir Biotechnology Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline PLC's COVID-19 antibody treatment worked against Omicron in a laboratory study.
The companies announced Tuesday that an in vitro study had shown their monoclonal antibody to be active against Omicron, which has 37 mutations on the spike protein. The antibody treatment sotrovimab was approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in May.
The stock gained 4.2% in trading on Tuesday, while shares of GlaxoSmithKline
were up 0.4%.
"We are confident that sotrovimab will continue to provide significant benefits for the early treatment of patients hoping to avoid the most serious consequences of COVID-19," said George Scangos, CEO of Vir, in a statement.
The advent of Omicron in the past few weeks has sparked a chain reaction among COVID-19 drug and vaccine makers, who are now conducting laboratory studies to evaluate how well their therapies and injections are working against Omicron.
The other monoclonal antibody manufacturers have also stated that they are trying to see whether their therapies will work against the new variant. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Executives told analysts last week that they expect their treatment to be "effective against Omicron," with more data expected in the coming weeks. Eli Lilly & Co. Inc.
said on Dec. 3 that it was evaluating the "neutralizing activity of our therapies on the worrisome omicron variant".
The latest COVID-19 numbers
The daily average number of cases in the US rose to 119,751 Monday, the highest since September 25 and a 28% increase from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker. The daily median death toll rose 13% to 1,266, its highest since November 4. Hospital admissions rose 18% to a seven-week high of 59,702.
About 199.3 million people in the US, or 60%, are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 23% of the population received a booster dose.
More COVID-19 News You Should Know:
The World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that it is no longer supporting convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. "Plasma administration, particularly in patients with non-serious disease who are at low risk of death and other important clinical outcomes, is not warranted," the organization wrote in The BMJ. The treatment is also considered ineffective in the US, based on the results of a clinical study by the National Institutes of Health.
Europeans now have a choice to "mix and match" their COVID-19 vaccines. following a new recommendation from the European Medicines Agency and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The agencies said Tuesday that taking a viral vector vaccine and then an mRNA shot produces "good antibody levels" as well as a "higher T-cell response" whether the mix is in the primary series or with a booster.
Starting Monday, international travelers must present a negative test one day before their flight to the US. The shorter time window of 72 hours for a pre-flight test is intended to protect people in the United States, while according to the CDC, more information is obtained about the Omicron variant.