Eli Lilly & Co said on Wednesday that its experimental antibody reduced the need for hospitalization and emergency room visits for patients with moderate COVID-19, according to an interim analysis of a mid-stage clinical trial.
The study tested three different doses of LY-CoV555, a manufactured antibody designed to recognize and lock onto the novel coronavirus, preventing the infection from spreading.
Of the total 302 patients treated with three different doses of LY-CoV555, five of them, or 1.7%, had to be admitted to a hospital or visit a hospital emergency room. That compares with a rate of 6%, or 9 out of 150, for trial patients given a placebo, the company said.
Only the middle dose, 2,800 milligrams, achieved the trial’s main goal of reducing the amount of virus detected in patients compared to a placebo 11 days after treatment, it added.
No drug-related serious adverse events were reported and there have been no trial deaths.
Lilly said it expects to publish the results of the interim analysis in a peer-reviewed journal and discuss appropriate next steps with global regulators.
The company said most hospitalizations occurred in patients with underlying risk factors such as being elderly or obese, suggesting a more pronounced treatment effect for people in these higher-risk groups.
“The results reinforce our conviction that neutralizing antibodies can help in the fight against COVID-19,” Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer, said in a statement.
The company said the trial was ongoing and has now enrolled 800 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. The trial is also studying LY-CoV555 in combination with a second Lilly antibody, LY-CoV016, which binds a different area of the coronavirus’ spike protein.
The antibodies, which are given by intravenous infusion, are also being tested for preventing COVID-19 in residents and staff at long-term care facilities and for treating patients already hospitalized due to COVID-19.