US drugmaker starts phase 3 trial for COVID-19 antibody treatment

American pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company has announced the start of its phase 3 trial to study whether one of its experimental COVID-19 antibody treatments can prevent the virus infection in residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

LY-CoV555, the lead antibody from Lilly’s collaboration with Canadian biotech AbCellera, is a neutralizing antibody against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

More than 40 per cent of coronavirus deaths in the US linked to long-term care facilities creates the urgent need for therapies to prevent COVID-19 in this vulnerable population, Eli Lilly and Company said in a release on Monday.

The first-of-its-kind study is expected to enrol up to 2,400 participants who live or work at facilities that have had a recently diagnosed case of COVID-19 and who are now at a high risk of exposure.

It will evaluate the efficacy and safety of LY-CoV555 for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19, testing whether a single dose of LY-CoV555 reduces the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection through 4 weeks, as well as complications of COVID-19 through 8 weeks, said the company.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on nursing home residents,” said Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, in a statement.

“We’re working as fast as we can to create medicines that might stop the spread of the virus to these vulnerable individuals.”

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