Lilly touts encouraging results from antibody that could neutralize COVID-19 and reduce hospitalizations


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INDIANAPOLIS – Eli Lilly is reporting encouraging results from a Phase 2 clinical trial of an antibody treatment for COVID-19.

Results from the BLAZE-1 clinical trial showed a reduced rate of hospitalization for patients treated with LY-CoV555, a SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody. The study involved four groups of patients who had been recently diagnosed with COVID-19.

One group received a placebo while the others received varying doses of the antibody (700 mg, 2800 mg and 7000 mg), which is designed to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from attaching to human cells, neutralizing it.

Lilly said most patients, including those who received the placebo, were almost completely clear of the virus by day 11. The study showed 1.7 of patients (five out of 302) who received the antibody required hospitalization, compared to 6 percent (nine out of 150) of those who received the placebo.

That amounted to a 72% risk reduction, Lilly said, showing a “more rapid improvement” for patients treated with LY-CoV555 versus the placebo.

“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 Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “The results reinforce our conviction that neutralizing antibodies can help in the fight against COVID-19.”

Patients didn’t show any serious drug-related effects from the antibody, the company said. Across the entire treatment group, no patients required mechanical ventilation or died.

The BLAZE-1 clinical trial remains ongoing, testing LY-CoV555 in combination with a second Lilly antibody, LY-CoV016. The trial will enroll “a larger, confirmatory cohort of higher risk patients” to test the antibody’s ability to reduce viral load and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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