(Bloomberg) --

AstraZeneca Plc said an antibody medicine against Covid-19 is advancing into the last stage of clinical tests, and will be administered to more than 6,000 people starting in the next few weeks.

The drug will be evaluated for its ability to prevent infections for up to a year in some people and as a preemptive medicine once patients have been exposed to the virus in others. Other trials will test its potential as a treatment once patients develop symptoms.

The long-acting antibody combination “has the potential to provide immediate and long-lasting effect in both preventing and treating Covid-19 infections,” Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said in a statement released late Friday.

The U.S. has contributed $486 million to the drug’s development. Other drugmakers including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. are also developing antibodies as experimental coronavirus treatments.

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