Antibody drug may help in milder COVID-19 cases, Eli Lilly CEO says

Eli Lilly chairman and CEO Dave Ricks told CNBC Oct. 27 that he believes the drugmaker’s COVID-19 antibody drug could still help COVID-19 patients despite one of its trials ending

The trial was testing whether the drug, called bamlanivimab, could improve recovery times or survival rates for patients hospitalized with advanced COVID-19. 

“These are patients who had symptoms many, many days ago. They advanced in the hospital. Many were on supplemental oxygen. It’s disappointing, of course. We would have liked to have shown a benefit in the hospital. It doesn’t appear that that benefit is there, so this chapter of that study will close,” Mr. Ricks told CNBC

Other studies testing the drug will continue, including one sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that is testing the drug in patients with mild or moderate COVID-19. 

Mr. Ricks told CNBC that Eli Lilly has so far seen “strong results” from studies testing the drug in patients earlier in their COVID-19 diagnoses. 

“Catching the disease early, where you can reduce the viral load with an antibody, appears to be making a significant difference,” he said. 

Earlier this month, Eli Lilly submitted an emergency use authorization request with the FDA for the drug’s use on mild to moderate COVID-19 patients at higher risk of death. Mr. Ricks told CNBC that the company hopes to also submit a request for authorization of its combination antibody drug that uses two different types of antibodies. 

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