The experimental antibody LY-CoV555, in development by American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co., may help keep COVID-19 patients with moderate symptoms out of the hospital.
The antibody works by recognizing the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and locking onto it to stop the virus from replicating. According to a company statement, interim analysis from a clinical trial of the drug found that patients with moderate versions of COVID-19 given the antibody are less likely to need to be hospitalized or go to the emergency room.
The study tested the antibody at three different dosages in 302 COVID-19 patients. Of these patients, only five (1.7%) were admitted to a hospital or went to an emergency room, compared with 9 of the 150 trial participants given a placebo (6%). Most of the patients who were hospitalized were elderly, obese or had underlying conditions. No patients died and Eli Lilly has reported no adverse reactions among study participants given the drug.
Of the three dosages, the middle dosage of 2,800 mg was the only one to reduce the level of virus in patients by 11 days after treatment.
The ongoing trial includes 800 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 and is studying combining use of antibody LY-CoV555 with a second antibody (LY-CoV016) that binds to a different area on the spike protein the new coronavirus uses to enter cells. Eli Lilly is also testing use of the two antibodies to prevent COVID-19 among healthcare workers in long-term care facilities and in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Eli Lilly plans to publish results of the analysis and says they are keeping governmental drug regulators informed regarding approval and distribution of the antibodies.
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