The first study on a potential antibody treatment for Covid-19 in humans kicks off. This is the monoclonal antibody called LY-CoV555, produced by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly (in collaboration with AbCellera): it was administered to the first patients, in a single dose. The phase 1, placebo-controlled study will assess safety and tolerability in patients with severe Sars-CoV-2 infection hospitalized in major hospitals in the United States. The first results are expected by June. If satisfactory, phase 2 will be started to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug in populations vulnerable to the virus. The antibody was identified by AbCellera, together with the Vaccine Research Center of the US National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), on a blood sample taken from one of the first US patients healed by Covid. LY-CoV555 was later developed by Lilly. It is the first potential drug specifically designed to combat Sars-CoV-2.
Prevention and treatment
Antibody treatments, such as the one studied here, promise to be effective measures against this deadly infection, said Mark J. Mulligan, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology and director of the Vaccine Center at NYU Langone Health. Therapies such as LY-CoV555 can prove effective in both prevention and treatment of Covid and can be particularly important for groups most affected by the disease, such as the elderly and people with compromised immune systems – added Daniel Skovronsky, president of Lilly Research Laboratories -. By the end of the month, we will review the results of the human study and intend to launch larger efficacy studies. In the meantime, we are starting production of this potential large-scale therapy. If LY-CoV555 proves to be part of the short-term solution for Covid, we want to be ready to make it available to patients as quickly as possible, with the aim of making several hundred thousand doses available by the end of the year.
Block the entry of the virus
If the results of phase 1 show that the drug can be safely administered, it will proceed to the next phase, in which non-hospitalized Covid patients will be involved. LY-CoV555 a monoclonal antibody IgG1 (mAb) directed against the protein spike of Sars-CoV-2: designed to block the entry of the virus into human cells and potentially usable in both the prevention and treatment of Covid. Lilly has made it known that he will test this first antibody and other neutralizing antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 and will investigate both individual antibody therapies and combinations (“antibody cocktail”).
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