There appears to be a rise in COVID-19 illnesses, driven by Omicron subvariants, which may be better able to evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections and lower public health measures by the public such as masking and social distancing.

AstraZeneca moved to bolster the company’s COVID-19 portfolio of antibodies on May 17 with a $157 million licensing deal for experimental therapies developed by newly launched biotech RQ Bio.

AstraZeneca said on March 21 the company’s antibody-based cocktail to prevent and treat COVID-19 retained neutralizing activity against Omicron coronavirus variants, including the highly contagious BA.2 sub-variant, in an independent lab study.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised the emergency use authorization (EUA) for AstraZeneca’s Evusheld to a higher dose to be effective in the prevention of COVID-19.