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Twice, Janet Handal thought she would get a reprieve from semi-lockdown life. The first was when she was vaccinated in January, 2021. But a negative antibody test quickly dashed those hopes; the same immunosuppressants she took to prevent her body from rejecting a kidney transplant also prevented it from responding adequately to vaccines.

So the 71-year-old New Yorker turned her attention to a drug, then in clinical trials, designed to protect immunocompromised people like her, enriching their blood with antibodies they struggled to make on their own. Evusheld was authorized last Dec. 8 — six days before lab data showed it would be significantly less effective against Omicron, the immune-evasive variant about to sweep the globe.

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