AstraZeneca treatment likely ineffective against rising COVID variant, FDA says

New strain has “similarity” to others not affected by AZ’s treatment.
FDA headquarters in Maryland

A key COVID-19 preventative treatment is likely ineffective against a rising COVID variant, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The FDA in its Friday roundup noted that COVID variant XBB.1.5 “is currently estimated to account for 28% of circulating variants in the U.S.” 

“Because of its similarity to variants that are not neutralized by [AstraZeneca’s] Evusheld,” the FDA said, the agency “does not anticipate that Evusheld will neutralize XBB.1.5.” 

“This means that Evusheld may not provide protection against developing COVID-19 for individuals who have received Evusheld and are later exposed to XBB.1.5,” the FDA said.

Evusheld was approved for emergency use by the FDA in December of 2021, though many of the doses have reportedly gone unused since then.