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.”
Lilly, which is developing the drug with the biotechnology firm Abcellera, tested three doses of its antibody against placebo in a trial enrolling about 450 patients recently diagnosed with mild to moderate Covid-19. The middle dose, 2,800 mg, met the trial’s primary goal of significantly reducing patients’ levels of SARS-CoV-2 after 11 days.
But other doses of the drug did not meet that goal, including a higher dose of 6,000 mg and a lower one of 700 mg. That could raise the risk that the benefit was due to chance, because normally one expects a medicine to become more effective as the dose increases, known as a dose response.
In a statement, Lilly said the problem may have stemmed from how the study chose to assess how much virus was detectable after 11 days. Most […]