Eli Lilly's antibody drug cuts Covid hospital and death risk by 87%, study finds

AN ANTIBODY drug developed by Eli Lilly & Co can cut Covid hospitalisations and the risk of death from the virus by 87 per cent, a study has revealed.

New research states that the antibody therapy is effective at treating mild to moderate cases of Covid-19.

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Trial data released by the US firm in conjunction with Canadian company AbCellera revealed that the use of bamlanivimab and etesevimab together reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death by 87 per cent in comparison to patients who took a placebo medication.

The combination of the drugs works by preventing the pathogen from entering human cells – it therefore neutralises the bug.

In order to test the drugs, experts analysed 796 mild-to moderate Covid patients all over the age of 12.

The patients were all at risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Those participating in the study were given 700 milligrams (mg) of bamlanivimab and 1,400 mg of etesevimab.

Analysis has now revealed that just four of the 796 patients were hospitalised and that there were zero deaths among those given the combination of drugs.

In those patients who took the placebo drug, there were four deaths and 11 hospitalisations.

Experts confirmed these incidences had been caused by Covid-19.

Dr Daniel Skovronsky, chief scientific officer at Eli Lilly said: “These compelling data…give healthcare providers additional information regarding the use of bamlanivimab and etesevimab together as a potentially life-saving treatment to help those most at risk for severe complications of Covid-19.”

The brand had previously conducted a trial in which it found that the combination reduced the risk of death and hospitalisation by 70 per cent.

Experts have now claimed that the trial data means we could take Covid from a “pandemic to an endemic”.

Former FDA associate commissioner for external relations Dr Peter Pitts told the Daily Mail: “Moving forward, this shows that having understood the value of aggressive early intervention could have saved lives.”

The treatment has been approved for use in both the US and Europe.

One half of the drug, bamlanivimab, has also been authorised for emergency use in countries such as Canada, Panama, Kuwait, the UAE, Israel, Rwanda and Morocco.

The firm will also provide doses of bamlanivimab free of charge in Rwanda and Morocco, through its work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Eli Lilly has stated it is prepared to produce one million doses of the combination therapy over the next few months with the brand’s chief scientific officer saying the treatment will protect people from new variants of the virus.

Mr Skovronsky said he was “confident” that the treatment covers all combinations of variants that have been detected in the US.

At present the UK variant is the most prominent strain in the US, but other strains such as the South African and Brazilian variant are not yet thought to be widespread in the US.

Despite this Mr Skovronsky said the company is looking at treatments which will work with the variants.

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