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Lilly says antibody reduces need for hospitalization for moderate COVID-19 patients

16 Sep 2020 / 18:47 H.

    By Deena Beasley

    Sept 16 (Reuters) - Eli Lilly & Co said on Wednesday that its experimental antibody reduced the need for hospitalization and emergency room visits for patients with moderate COVID-19, according to an interim analysis of a mid-stage clinical trial.

    The study tested three different doses of LY-CoV555, a manufactured antibody designed to recognize and lock onto the novel coronavirus, preventing the infection from spreading.

    Of the total 302 patients treated with three different doses of LY-CoV555, five of them, or 1.7%, had to be admitted to a hospital or visit a hospital emergency room. That compares with a rate of 6%, or 9 out of 150, for trial patients given a placebo, the company said.

    Only the middle dose, 2,800 milligrams, achieved the trial's main goal of reducing the amount of virus detected in patients compared to a placebo 11 days after treatment, it added.

    No drug-related serious adverse events were reported and there have been no trial deaths.

    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.

    The company said most hospitalizations occurred in patients with underlying risk factors such as being elderly or obese, suggesting a more pronounced treatment effect for people in these higher-risk groups.

    "The results reinforce our conviction that neutralizing antibodies can help in the fight against COVID-19," Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly's chief scientific officer, said in a statement.

    The company said the trial was ongoing and has now enrolled 800 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. The trial is also studying LY-CoV555 in combination with a second Lilly antibody, LY-CoV016, which binds a different area of the coronavirus' spike protein.

    The antibodies, which are 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 hospitalized due to COVID-19. (Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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