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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for Protecting Against COVID-19 Takes a Step Forward For the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Community

In science and medicine, information is constantly changing and may become out-of-date as new data emerge. All articles and interviews are informational only, should never be considered medical advice, and should never be acted on without review with your health care team.

Vaccines are our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but for the few for whom vaccines may not work, there is now a viable option that can provide similarly high levels of protection.

Too many blood cancer patients have been shown to remain at risk for severe COVID-19 after vaccination. CLL is a cancer of the immune system, and in CLL the innate immune system’s ability to respond to the vaccine has been unpredictable at best and non-existent at worst.

When diabetics can’t actively make their own insulin, we offer them external sources of insulin to regulate their sugar so they can live a more normal life.

When CLL patients can’t actively make their own antibodies, we might soon be able to offer them highly effective external sources of antibodies (a passive immunity) to protect against COVID-19 so they too can live a more normal life.

The next step in making this a reality happened last week. AstraZeneca formally asked the FDA to review their long-acting anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody therapy, AZD7442, for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to provide Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for protection against COVID-19. The authorization could be a boon to those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Here is the press release from AstraZeneca: AZD7442 request for Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 prophylaxis filed in the US.

This comes after AZD7442 was shown to reduce symptomatic COVID-19 infections by 77% in a Phase 3 clinical trial that welcomed the immune-compromised. For more details, please read AZD7442 PROVENT Phase III Prophylaxis Trial Met Primary Endpoint in Preventing Symptomatic COVID-19. These and more are the data the FDA will review for safety and efficacy when deciding on the EUA.

Other promising anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are in development and unlike the vaccine research that excluded the immunocompromised, CLL patients are welcomed into these trials.

CLL Society is working hard both publicly and behind the scenes to ensure these new options, if confirmed safe and effective, are made available and prioritized for the immune-compromised.

Please consider supporting these efforts by donating to CLL Society.

Stay strong. We are all in this together.

Brian Koffman MDCM (retired) MS Ed
Co-Founder, Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer
CLL Society, Inc.