Eli Lilly announces first human anti-body trial to treat COVID-19

Marco Green
June 3, 2020

U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly revealed Monday in a news release that it has started phase one of a potential COVID-19 antibody treatment in humans.

The experimental treatment, LY-CoV555, has been developed through collaboration with privately held AbCellera Biologics, which Lilly partnered with in March.

"What we're doing here is taking patients with Covid, offering the opportunity to participate in a new treatment, hopefully to help them recover more quickly and uneventfully from their infection", said Dr. Mark J. Mulligan, director of the infectious-disease and vaccine-research units at NYU Langone Health, according to the newspaper. Lilly scientists rapidly developed the antibody in just three months after AbCellera and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) identified it from a blood sample taken from one of the first USA patients who recovered from COVID-19.

Eli Lilly scientists collaborated with Canada-based AbCellera to engineer a treatment out of the "very best one or two" antibodies it can find out of millions of cells, the CEO said.

The neutralizing IgG1 monoclonal antibody is created to prevent the attachment and entry of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to human cells.

The goal is to develop a new drug to treat people who have become infected with the virus.

The trial's first phase will test whether the therapy is safe and well-tolerated.

"Later this month, we will review the results of this first human study and intend to initiate broader efficacy trials". The company also plans to study the drug in a preventative setting, focusing on vulnerable patient populations who historically are not optimal candidates for vaccines.

Lilly shares were trading down slightly at $152.86 at the time of publication Monday. "That's a capability we have, so the opportunity to work on antibodies against Covid-19 made total sense".

A single dose of the medicine is administered via IV to up to 32 participants.

An antiviral drug from Gilead Sciences called remdesivir has shown some promise against COVID-19 and is being given to patients by some countries under compassionate or emergency use rule.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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