A researcher working with COVID-19 antibodies in an Eli Lilly lab in Indianapolis. (The Associated Press)
Pharmaceutical Eli Lilly and Company asked the United States government to allow the emergency use of one of its drugs for an experimental antibody therapy for COVID-19, based on the first results of a study that indicated that the drug reduced the symptoms, number of viruses, hospitalizations and ER visits for patients with mild or moderate coronavirus.
Eli Lilly announced the partial results Wednesday in a press release. They have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists.
His drug is similar to that of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., which President Donald Trump received on Friday. Their manufacturers say the drugs supply concentrated versions of specific antibodies to help the immune system eliminate the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. They are given as a single treatment intravenously.
Lilly has already started producing one of the two antibodies in her drug, betting that ongoing studies will show that it works.
It is not clear whether the evidence will be considered strong enough for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant an emergency use authorization, as it has already done for the antiviral drug remdesivir.
The firm said the interim results are based on a mid-stage study in which 112 people received the antibodies and 156 received a placebo.
He added that among those who received the drug, the amount of virus was significantly lower 11 days later, which was the main goal of the study. The number of viruses was also lower in previous moments. Symptom records showed improvements at three days.
About 5.8% of patients who received placebo required hospitalization or an emergency room visit versus 0.9% of those who received the antibodies.
The company said there were no serious side effects related to the drugs.