Lilly antibody drug ‘cuts hospitalisation’

By AAP Newswire

Eli Lilly and Co say interim trial data indicates its experimental antibody treatment reduced the need for hospitalisation and emergency room visits for patients with moderate COVID-19.

Lilly's mid-stage study tested three different doses of LY-CoV555, an antibody treatment designed to recognise and lock onto the novel coronavirus, thus preventing the infection from spreading.

Analysts expect antibody treatments could help some patients, as broad distribution of coronavirus vaccine candidates is expected to be lengthy.

Many companies including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Vir Biotechnology are also testing antibody treatments for COVID-19.

The drugs are the first to be designed specifically to fight COVID-19.

Of the total 302 patients treated with three different doses of LY-CoV555, five of them or 1.7 per cent had to be admitted to a hospital or visited a hospital emergency room, compared with 6 per cent, or 9 out of 150 on placebo, Lilly said.

Only the middle dose, of 2800 milligrams, achieved the trial's main goal of reducing the viral load detected in patients compared to a placebo 11 days after treatment, Lilly said.

No drug-related serious adverse events or trial deaths were reported.

Lilly said it expects to publish the results of the interim analysis in a peer-reviewed journal and discuss appropriate next steps with global regulators.

It said the trial, which is ongoing, has now enrolled 800 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19.

The study is also testing LY-CoV555 in combination with another antibody treatment, LY-CoV016.

The antibodies, given by intravenous infusion, are also being tested for preventing COVID-19 in residents and staff at long-term care facilities and for treating patients already hospitalised due to COVID-19.