Eli Lilly and Company has begun what it calls the first study in the world for a potential COVID-19 antibody treatment for humans. The American pharmaceutical company announced its partnership with the privately held Canadian biotechnology firm in March to test antibodies as a potential cure for COVID-19.
The treatment uses an antibody created to block the spike-shaped protein structures of the coronavirus from locking on to human cells, thus neutralizing it.
"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.
Beyond emergency and supportive care, there are now no FDA-licensed treatment options for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the infection caused SARS-CoV-2.
"Later this month, we will review the results of this first human study and intend to initiate broader efficacy trials".
In phase one of the study, hospitalized COVID-19 patients are being dosed at medical facilities to closely track safety and response to the treatment, with initial results expected in about one month. At the same time as we are investigating safety and efficacy, we also are starting large-scale manufacturing of this potential therapy.
The trial's first phase will test whether the therapy is safe and well-tolerated.
Lilly Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements (as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) about LY-CoV555 as a potential treatment for patients with COVID-19 and reflects Lilly's current beliefs.
The current treatment candidate was chosen because it is shaped to interact with the "spike proteins" used by SARS-CoV-2 to attach to human cell surfaces, the first step in invading cells, say the investigators. The study will assess both its safety and its tolerability in patients hospitalised with Covid-19. Among other things, there can be no guarantee that LY-CoV555 will prove to be an effective treatment for COVID-19.
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