Eli Lilly COVID-19 antibody drug helps patients avoid the hospital, early data suggests

A monoclonal antibody drug being developed by Eli Lilly helped the virus leave COVID-19 patients's systems sooner, according to interim analysis of an ongoing study assessing the drug's effectiveness in treating the disease.

Eli Lilly is developing the drug, called LY-CoV555, with biotech firm Abcellera, according to a Sept. 16 news release. They enrolled about 450 patients diagnosed with mild to moderate COVID-19 in a study assessing the drug's effectiveness in three different doses. The middle dose, 2,800 mg, was the only one to meet the drugmaker's goal of significantly reducing patients' levels of the virus after 11 days.

Five of the 302 trial participants who took the drug were hospitalized, as opposed to nine of the 150 who took placebo. LY-CoV555 produced no serious side effects or adverse reactions.

"These interim data from the BLAZE-1 trial suggest that LY-CoV555, an antibody specifically directed against SARS-CoV-2, has a direct antiviral effect and may reduce COVID-related hospitalizations," Daniel Skovronsky, MD, PhD, Eli Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, said in a news release. "The results reinforce our conviction that neutralizing antibodies can help in the fight against COVID-19."

The results have yet to be peer reviewed, and the drugmaker has promised to publish all findings in a peer-reviewed journal after the trial's end. The trial will also test a second antibody in combination with LY-CoV555, enrolling about 800 total.

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