Glimmer of hope for coronavirus cure as Eli Lilly antibody drug trials advance


While dozens of pharmaceutical players are racing to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, a glimmer of hope has emerged on the horizon for a cure.

US drug giant Eli Lilly announced on Monday that its trial of an antibody drug had progressed to phase 3, to establish whether the candidate, LY-CoV555, can prevent or treat Covid-19 in nursing homes in the US.

Antibodies are proteins the body makes in response to invasion of a foreign substance such as a virus. They can be obtained from the blood of recovered patients or created in the laboratory from genetic sequences.

Lilly’s drug candidate is made in the lab and designed to target the spike protein of Sars-CoV-2, the formal name for the virus that causes Covid-19, and block the virus from entering human cells.

In a non-peer reviewed paper released on Monday, the company said an animal study indicated that the antibody cocktail could “almost completely block establishment of virus infection” and minimise infection after animals were infected with a higher level of Sars-CoV-2.


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