Latest News Eli Lilly reports a reduced rate of hospitalization for...

Eli Lilly reports a reduced rate of hospitalization for coronavirus patients using its antibody treatment

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LONDON — Eli Lilly said Wednesday its antibody-based drug appears to have reduced the rate of hospitalization for coronavirus patients recently diagnosed with mild-to-moderate symptoms.

The U.S. drugmaker said it tested three different doses of LY-CoV555 against a placebo in a trial enrolling roughly 450 patients. The middle dose of 2,800 mg met the trial’s target of significantly reducing the presence of SARS-CoV-2 after 11 days.

Other doses of the antibody-drug, including the 700 mg dose and the 7,000 mg dose, did not meet that goal.

The announcement comes at a time when many are closely monitoring the development of antibody drugs as a potential bridge to a coronavirus vaccine.

To date, more than 29.5 million people have contracted Covid-19 worldwide, including 935,591 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“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,” said  Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories.

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“The results reinforce our conviction that neutralizing antibodies can help in the fight against COVID-19,” Skovronsky said in a statement.

Shares of Eli Lilly rose around 1% in premarket trade after the announcement.

LY-CoV555 belongs to a class of treatments known as monoclonal antibodies. It is designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, thus neutralizing the virus and potentially preventing and treating the coronavirus.

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The antibody, developed by Eli Lilly and AbCeller, was identified from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from Covid-19.

Eli Lilly is one of several companies developing antibody drugs, alongside GlaxoSmithKline and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

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