A drug being developed by Eli Lilly helped sick patients rid their systems of the virus that causes Covid-19 sooner and may have prevented them from landing in the hospital, according to newly released data.
The drug is what is known as a monoclonal antibody, which experts view as being among the most likely technologies to help treat Covid-19. It’s a manufactured version of the antibodies that the body uses as part of its response to a virus.
“This is a good start,” said Eric Topol, the director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. “A lot is pinned not only on Lilly but on the whole family of these [monoclonal antibodies], because even though they’re expensive and they’re not going to make a gajillion doses, they could make a big difference in the whole landscape of the pandemic.”
In a more tantalizing finding, the medicine also appeared to reduce patients’ odds of ending up in the hospital. Just 1.7% of patients who received the drug, called LY-CoV555, eventually went to the emergency room or were hospitalized, compared with 6% of those who took placebo. That amounts to 72% relative reduction in risk.
“This is extremely exciting, and maybe a pivotal moment in the fight against Covid-19, said Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer. “I think this should give us confidence that neutralizing antibodies are going to be an important part of the solution for ours and other companies, and that we will win the fight against Covid-19 through medicine and innovation.”
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