WILMINGTON, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, AstraZeneca (Nasdaq: AZN) launched Up The Antibodies, an important new campaign that embraces the reality for millions of immunocompromised Americans1,2: COVID-19 isn’t over. While it feels like life has gone back to normal for many, this community still has very real cause for concern. Now, an added layer of COVID-19 protection can help people who are immunocompromised start to get back out into the world, doing what they love with whom they love.
A recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the fact that, among US patients hospitalized with COVID-19, immunocompromised adults accounted for a disproportionately high percentage (12.2%) of hospitalizations compared to an estimated 2.7% of the US adult population. These individuals also had higher odds of severe outcomes, regardless of vaccination status.3 The development of long-acting monoclonal antibodies has opened the door for treatment and preventative options, including protecting immunocompromised people.4
However, awareness of the unmet need and these options is still low, and that is the reason behind the creation of Up The Antibodies. To launch the campaign, AstraZeneca released an empowering public service announcement (PSA) starring Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges, who recently very publicly discussed the fight of his life, first with lymphoma and then COVID-19, which he was exposed to in the time frame when he was receiving chemotherapy for cancer.
“A lot of the world is trying to move forward and put COVID-19 behind them, but people with compromised immune systems can’t do that yet,” said Bridges. “That’s why this partnership with AstraZeneca and Up The Antibodies is incredibly personal to me.”
Jeff’s battle with COVID-19 almost cost him his life, so it was fitting that, for this PSA, he was able to get back to doing what he loves with some of his favorite people – joining director Scott Cooper and music legend T Bone Burnett - for their first reunion since the making of 2009’s Academy Award-winning film, Crazy Heart.
“While the option to up my antibodies to protect me from COVID-19 wasn’t around when I was going through cancer treatment, it is now. As soon as I could, I upped my antibodies,” Bridges said. “And now I'm feeling more confident to get back to doing the things I love.”
Just as Up The Antibodies aims to let immunocompromised people know they aren’t alone, Bridges isn’t alone in this campaign. Actor, producer, and Academy Award-nominated writer Kumail Nanjiani also joined the campaign, together with his wife, Academy Award-nominated writer and producer Emily V. Gordon. Emily is immunocompromised, and the couple is known for talking openly about their experience in relation to the pandemic; even starting a podcast in March of 2020 about “staying in.” Kumail and Emily continued this discussion specifically for Up The Antibodies, kicking off the campaign with advocacy, influencers and other key stakeholders to share what it’s like now – still not able to fully move forward. Kumail and Emily rose to fame with the release of their award-winning film, The Big Sick, loosely based on their unique story as a patient-and-caregiver couple, and they continue to share how they navigate life together.
“Surviving a coma from adult-onset Still's disease was terrifying. I never want to go through something like that again. So, with the arrival of the COVID-19 epidemic, we both knew we had to be more careful than ever before,” said Gordon. “Our experiences are so similar to what so many people who are immunocompromised are going through and we are thankful for the opportunity to share our experiences to educate others, so they can talk with their doctors about their options.”
Nanjiani adds, “At the start of the pandemic, I suffered panic attacks for the first time in my life because I was so worried about Emily, and now, while we have learned to navigate together, it never gets easier. Decisions are often made together, which is why it’s important for everyone to know that there is the option to add protection in addition to vaccines and boosters, wearing a mask and social distancing to prevent COVID-19.”
From the outset of this initiative, AstraZeneca is proud to collaborate with the Immune Deficiency Foundation, and other leading provider and patient community allies, to ensure the campaign is built with and for the evolving urgent needs of the immunocompromised patient community.
“At AstraZeneca, we believe it is our unique responsibility to support and empower the immunocompromised community, offering hope while the rest of the world strives to return to a sense of normalcy,” said Liz Bodin, VP, Respiratory & Immunology at AstraZeneca. “It is through our partnership with academia, advocacy, researchers and government we are able to discover coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies that can help protect the most vulnerable against COVID-19.”
Visit UpTheAntibodies.com to view additional content from Bridges, Nanjiani and Gordon. The campaign website also includes information on long-acting monoclonal antibodies and essential resources, including a patient and doctor conversation guide. Campaign followers are encouraged to join Up The Antibodies social channels to engage with others in the immunocompromised community and share experiences navigating the pandemic.
About Up The Antibodies
Up The Antibodies is an educational campaign for those who are immunocompromised about steps they can take to get an added layer of protection to prevent COVID-19 including with a long-acting monoclonal antibody therapy option. While the development of vaccines allowed many Americans to get back to normal, COVID-19 has continued to hold back people who are immunocompromised and who may not receive adequate protection from vaccines alone.5 Up The Antibodies serves as a call to action, reminding this community that when you up your antibodies, it can offer a renewed sense of hope to get back to the little things in life that you enjoy the most. Visit UpTheAntibodies.com to access additional information and resources, and follow Up The Antibodies on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Long-Acting Monoclonal Antibody Therapy
Monoclonal antibody therapy was one of the first tools used to treat COVID-19.6 For those who are immunocompromised/immune compromised, monoclonal antibody therapy can offer additional protection on top of vaccinations to help protect the most vulnerable.4 Monoclonal antibodies are produced in a laboratory to mimic or enhance the immune system's response.7 They recognize, bind to and neutralize specific viruses and other pathogens.4
About Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges, Academy Award winner and musician, went through his own terrifying experience battling COVID-19 while undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma. In 2020, as the world shut down from the pandemic, Jeff was diagnosed with cancer after learning he had a 9x12-inch tumor in his body. Jeff credits his amazing medical team for working together to find the right chemotherapy combination for his cancer. However, when COVID-19 hit Jeff’s weakened immune system, he was forced back into hospital care. With the help of his family and his medical team once again, Jeff turned a corner. After receiving a long-acting monoclonal antibody, Jeff was feeling better and getting back to what he loves. He partnered with AstraZeneca to share his COVID-19 experience and to help the immunocompromised community understand that there’s a way they, too, can get back to truly living when they up their antibodies.
About Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
Kumail Nanjiani, actor, producer and Academy Award-nominated writer, and his wife Emily V. Gordon, Academy Award-nominated writer and producer, have gone through their own challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic not only as husband and wife but also as a patient and caregiver team. Emily navigates life with adult-onset Still’s disease, an autoimmune condition, with Kumail at her side. The couple partnered with AstraZeneca to share their own COVID-19 experiences, shedding light on the unique challenges facing caregivers and loved ones and helping to educate others in a similar situation about the ability to add protection from COVID-19 when you up your antibodies.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries, and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit www.astrazeneca-us.com and follow us on Twitter @AstraZenecaUS.
- Harpaz R, Dahl RM, Dooling KL. Prevalence of Immunosuppression Among US Adults, 2013. JAMA. 2016;316(23):2547-2548. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.16477. Accessed June 15, 2022.
- US Census Bureau Public Information Office. (2013, May 19). Census Bureau projects U.S. population of 315.1 million on New Year's day - population - newsroom - U.S. Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb12-255.html. Accessed August 26, 2022.
- Singson JR, Kirley PD, Pham H, et al. Factors Associated with Severe Outcomes Among Immunocompromised Adults Hospitalized for COVID-19 — COVID-NET, 10 States, March 2020–February 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;71:878–884. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7127a3. Accessed July 19, 2022.
- Taylor PC, Adams AC, Hufford MM, de la Torre I, Winthrop K, Gottlieb RL. Neutralizing monoclonal antibodies for treatment of COVID-19. Nat Rev Immunol. 2021;21(6):382-393. doi:10.1038/s41577-021-00542-x. Accessed June 15, 2022.
- Haidar G, Agha M, Bilderback A, et al. Prospective evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine responses across a broad spectrum of immunocompromising conditions: the COVICS study [published online ahead of print, 2022 Feb 18]. Clin Infect Dis. 2022; 75(1):e630-e644. doi:10.1093/cid/ciac103. Accessed June 13, 2022.
- Minnich A, Rocha D, Hu Y, Boell K, Burke GF. Delivering monoclonal antibody infusions to novel outpatient settings. NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery 2022. https://doi.org/10.1056/CAT.21.0463. Accessed August 26, 2022.
- Lloyd EC, Gandhi TN, Petty LA. Patient information: Monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19. JAMA. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2776307. Published March 9, 2021. Accessed July 13, 2022.