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Hospital trial of Eli Lilly's COVID-19 treatment ends

Eli Lilly said Monday the trial of its antibody in hospitalized COVID-19 patients ended due to lack of evidence it was able to help, but it may still be able to help people in less progressed stages of the disease. Photo courtesy of Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly said Monday the trial of its antibody in hospitalized COVID-19 patients ended due to lack of evidence it was able to help, but it may still be able to help people in less progressed stages of the disease. Photo courtesy of Eli Lilly

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A hospital trial of Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody treatment has ended while other trials of the drug continue.

Lilly announced in a statement Monday that researchers found that the clinical trial in COVID-19 hospitalized patients of the Eli Lilly-developed monoclonal antibody drug called bamlanivimab was "unlikely to help hospitalized patients recover from this advanced stage of their disease."

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The National Institutes of Health had sponsored the ACTIV-3 trial as part of the NIH's "Activ" program set up to accelerate development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The ACTIV-3 trial was set up to test the monoclonal antibody drug in combination with antiviral remdesivir in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Lilly said in the statement that it was still confident about other ongoing trials for bamlanivimab.

"While there was insufficient evidence that bamlanivimab improved clinical outcomes when added to other treatments in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we remain confident based on data from Lilly's BLAZE-1 study that bamlanivimab monotherapy may prevent progression of disease for those earlier in the course of COVID-19."

Weeks before the end of the trial, which began in June, U.S. health regulators paused the trial over safety concerns.

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Lilly scientists developed the antibody bamlanivimab in three months after AbCellera and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases identified it from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19.

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

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

The ACTIV-3 trial that ended was one of several ongoing trials supported by Operation Warp Speed, a Trump administration effort to make and distribute vaccines to fight COVID-19.

COVID-19 has infected over 8.7 million people in the United States and killed over 226,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has infected over 43.8 million and killed over 1 million people.

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