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U.S. pauses Eli Lilly antibody treatment trial for COVID-19 over safety concerns

U.S. pauses Eli Lilly antibody treatment trial for COVID-19 over safety concerns
Federal regulators have halted Eli Lilly's late-stage trial for an antibody treatment for COVID-19. File Photo by Momoneymoproblemz/Wikimedia Commons

Oct. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. health regulators have paused Eli Lilly's trial of an antibody treatment for COVID-19 over potential safety concerns.

Regulators paused enrollment in the leading late-stage trial of monoclonal antibody treatment for the coronavirus, CNBC confirmed Tuesday.

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"When scientists test promising treatments, sometimes unexpected side effects occur," said Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Faust first reported the news through the research site Brief19.

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Eli Lilly said it supports the decision by an independent monitoring board to "cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study," according to spokeswoman Kathryn Beiser.

Details regarding the safety concern are not yet known. A review from the independent data and safety monitoring board will be completed before further action is taken.

The ACTIV-3 trial was set up to test the Eli Lilly-developed monoclonal antibody in combination with remdesivir. Monoclonal antibodies are made to act as immune cells that scientists hope can fight the virus. A blood sample from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19 was used for the experimental antibody treatment.

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Other companies, such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and AstraZenca pharmaceutical company, are also working on antibody treatments.

President Donald Trump received a monoclonal antibody treatment made by Regeneron along with remdesivir earlier this month.

The ACTIV-3 trial is one of several ongoing trials, which are part of the National Institute of Health's "Activ" program set up to accelerate development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

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The trial is supported by Operation Warp Speed, a Trump administration effort to make and distribute vaccines to fight COVID-19.

COVID-19 has infected over 7.8 million people in the United States and killed over 215,000 in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has infected over 37.9 million and killed over 1 million people.

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