Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Emergent Variants Following AZD7442 (Tixagevimab/Cilgavimab) for Early Outpatient Treatment of COVID-19 (TACKLE Trial).
Kijak GH., Ahani B., Arbetter D., Chuecos F., Gopalakrishnan V., Beloor J., Brady T., Nguyen A., Roe TL., Schuko N., Zhang T., Hobbs FDR., Padilla F., Kelly EJ., Montgomery H., Streicher K.
INTRODUCTION: AZD7442 (tixagevimab/cilgavimab) comprises neutralising monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that bind to distinct non-overlapping epitopes on the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein. Viral evolution during mAb therapy can select for variants with reduced neutralisation susceptibility. We examined treatment-emergent SARS-CoV-2 variants during TACKLE (NCT04723394), a phase 3 study of AZD7442 for early outpatient treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: Non-hospitalised adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 were randomised and dosed ≤ 7 days from symptom onset with AZD7442 (n = 452) or placebo (n = 451). Next-generation sequencing of the spike gene was performed on SARS-CoV-2 reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction-positive nasopharyngeal swabs at baseline and study days 3, 6, and 15 post dosing. SARS-CoV-2 lineages were assigned using spike nucleotide sequences. Amino acid substitutions were analysed at allele fractions (AF; % of sequence reads represented by substitution) ≥ 25% and 3% to 25%. In vitro susceptibility to tixagevimab, cilgavimab, and AZD7442 was evaluated for all identified treatment-emergent variants using a pseudotyped microneutralisation assay. RESULTS: Longitudinal spike sequences were available for 461 participants (AZD7442, n = 235; placebo, n = 226) and showed that treatment-emergent variants at any time were rare, with 5 (2.1%) AZD7442 participants presenting ≥ 1 substitution in tixagevimab/cilgavimab binding sites at AF ≥ 25%. At AF 3% to 25%, treatment-emergent variants were observed in 15 (6.4%) AZD7442 and 12 (5.3%) placebo participants. All treatment-emergent variants showed in vitro susceptibility to AZD7442. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that AZD7442 creates a high genetic barrier for resistance and is a feasible option for COVID-19 treatment.