CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan receives 1,728 Evusheld doses for immunocompromised people

09/08/2022 10:20 PM
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Source: AstraZeneca
Source: AstraZeneca

Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA) Taiwan has purchased 10,000 doses of Evusheld to provide protection to immunocompromised people at high risk of contracting severe COVID-19, with the first shipment of 1,728 doses having already arrived in the country, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Thursday.

The 1,728 doses of Evusheld, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies -- tixagevimab (AZD8895) and cilgavimab (AZD1061) -- developed by AstraZeneca arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday and will be delivered to medical centers and regional hospitals for conditional use starting Thursday, where they will undergo medical evaluation to determine their safety and efficacy, CECC head Victor Wang (王必勝) said.

Evusheld is a preventive antibody therapy that has shown neutralizing activity against the Omicron BA.2, BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 subvariants and is authorized for emergency use as a pre-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19.

The monoclonal antibodies have received emergency use authorization (EUA) in the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia and several countries in Europe as a preventive tool for individuals who cannot get vaccinated or immunocompromised patients before they are exposed to COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control has included Evusheld as a recommended drug in its guidelines for clinical management of infection from SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and the Evusheld doses will be stored in medical centers and some regional hospitals to be used for eligible people, including patients with congenital immunodeficiencies, the CECC said.

However, the CECC noted that timely vaccination against COVID-19 is still the most effective measure for preventing infection, saying that Evusheld cannot replace vaccination.

As of Wednesday, 93.1 percent of the eligible Taiwanese population had received at least one COVID-19 dose, while 87 percent had gotten two shots and 73.3 percent had received a first booster shot.

About 9.8 percent of the population has received a second booster shot, including 34.9 percent of those aged 65 and above, CECC statistics showed.

(By Shen Pei-yao and Evelyn Kao)

Enditem/AW

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