American pharma giant Eli Lily says an experimental COVID-19 antibody manufactured by the company was able to trim down the chances of COVID-19 hospitalizations significantly.
Eli Lily’s treatment which is essentially a manufactured copy of the antibody created by recovered COVID-19 patients was able to drastically reduce the likelihood of a newly infected patient from being hospitalized or taken to the emergency room.
The pharma company tried three different doses of LY-CoV555 which is a lab-made version of the original antibody produced by recovered COVID-19 patients, and the result was pretty amazing.
According to Reuters, the mid-stage study involved a total of 302 patients, found, only 1.7% of those intravenously infused with the drug required hospitalization at a point of time, compared to 6% of those who were given a placebo.
Only a middle amount of dose did the job of meeting the company’s primary goal of reducing COVID-19 symptoms in mild-to-moderate patients within 11 days. Nor a higher dose, neither a lower dose of the drug bore outcomes.
The company said the results are yet to be assessed by outside experts and will soon share the interim results with the world. A company spokesperson even said they’re in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration for a possible emergency use authorization after additional trials.
“This is extremely exciting, and maybe a pivotal moment in the fight against Covid-19,” said Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer. “We will be discussing with regulators what the appropriate next steps are.”
I think this should give us confidence that neutralizing antibodies are going to be an important part of the solution for ours and other companies, and that we will win the fight against Covid-19 through medicine and innovation, ” Skovronsky told Stat News.
A monoclonal antibody treatment – which is externally manufactured antibodies – is easier than a convalescent plasma therapy (already approved in the US and India), where a recovered COVID-19 patient is needed as a donor to treat another patient.
In the case of the Lilly drug, it can be independently manufactured and delivered to more people, without the need of a donor albeit at a much greater cost manufacturing. Eli Lily also reported, after the treatment, the viral load reduced drastically.
Future trials will focus on patients with co-morbid and other health conditions since the trial found most of the complications that happened in patients with other health factors like obesity, or age.
Other companies are also testing a similar drug for use in COVID-19 patients. Unless a vaccine is ready, healthcare systems around the world are having to grapple with whatever treatments and therapies are in hand and development.
Around the world, there are presently over 100 potential vaccines under development as per WHO and over 35 of them are in the advanced human trial stage of development.
It must be noted, antibody doses like that of Lily’s do not last for long, and offer only limited protection. But unless a vaccine does its job, these therapies nonetheless buy doctors the time and support needed to save more lives.