Eli Lilly pauses trial of antibody drug touted by Trump as COVID-19 cure

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Just a day after Johnson and Johnson temporarily paused its COVID-19 vaccine trial, US pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly has suspended the government-sponsored Phase 3 trial of its lab-produced antibody treatment in hospitalised patients over safety concerns. 

In a video posted last week, Trump had touted the Lilly drug, along with the antibody treatment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN.O that he received for his COVID-19, as tantamount to a cure.

 

Doctor and Scientist Eric Topol said that he was surprised at the holding of the trial. “Surprising that Lilly’s monoclonal antibody has a safety concern to pause trials, as the safety issue has not manifest in their program or Regeneron’s previously. Hopefully a brief pause and we’ll get details quickly. Good to be cautious,” he said in a tweet. 

The trial was designed to test the benefits of the antibody therapy on hundreds of people hospitalized with Covid-19, compared with a placebo. The study participants also received Remdesivir, another experimental drug, which has become commonly used to treat coronavirus patients.

Earlier this month, Lilly had said it was applying for emergency use authorization (EUA) for the antibody drug, LY-CoV555, for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 based on data from another clinical trial.

Recently, AstraZeneca paused its clinical trials worldwide following an unexplained illness in a study participant. Serum Institute of India too put hold on the clinical trials. However, it was resumed in some parts later. 

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