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AstraZeneca Kicks Off Another Covid-19 Test Trial

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AstraZeneca (AZN) - Get Report is doubling down on finding a vaccine and treatment for the novel coronavirus, announcing on Tuesday that it has begun testing an antibody-based cocktail for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. 

The company announced Tuesday the launch of a phase 1 study to evaluate the effectiveness of AZD7442, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that it hopes could lead to both a preventative treatment for Covid-19, and a medicinal treatment for those who have already contracted it.

AstraZeneca’s move comes as companies globally race forward to find a cure for the coronavirus, which to date has 23.4 million and killed 809,000 globally, according to the latest tally by Johns Hopkins University.

A flurry of announcements from other biotech and pharma companies on Tuesday added to expectations of a viable antidote and treatment for the pathogen sooner than later, as well as better methods for testing if people have it in the first place.

On the testing front, Qiagen NV (QGEN) - Get Report on Monday said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had granted an Emergency Use Authorization to its digital test for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

On the vaccine side, Novavax (NVAX) - Get Report said on Tuesday that has begun enrollment for expanded phase 2 trials of its own Covid-19 vaccine candidate, with interim data expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Meantime, Moderna (MRNA) - Get Report announced separately on Tuesday that it has concluded advanced talks with the European Union to supply 80 million doses of its own Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Mrna-1273, which is currently in its final stage trial.

Some 30 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently in various forms of study and trials, according to the World Health Organization.

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