Eli Lilly Reports Antibody Treatment Can Prevent COVID-19

Grant Boone
January 23, 2021

The BLAZE-2 COVID-19 prevention trial was conducted in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Currently, residents and staff in care homes have been identified as a top priority group to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

This trial, supported by the United States government, was conducted on 299 nursing home residents and 666 staff working in such institutions who tested negative for the virus before receiving treatment.

The trial included 965 participants who tested negative for the coronavirus and 132 participants who tested positive, according to the announcement.

"We are very satisfied with these positive results, which show that bamlanivimab (trade name for the synthetic antibody) has helped prevent COVID-19, significantly reducing the symptomatic form of the disease in residents of retirement homes, "said Daniel Skovronsky, scientific director of the group, in a press release. Where there's an outbreak in nursing homes and people haven't yet received the vaccine, this could be a potential way to protect them before they get it", added Skovronsky".

The federal government bought hundreds of thousands of doses of bamlanivimab and a similar drug from Regeneron, which President Donald Trump received when he was sick with COVID-19 in October.

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Seniors at long-term care facilities are considered to be the most vulnerable to COVID-19, accounting for about 1% of the USA population, but 40% of the deaths related to the disease.

The drug, bamlanivimab, already has an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration that allows Eli Lilly to provide it to symptomatic patients early in the course of their infection.

After all, participants reached eight weeks of follow-up, there was a significantly lower frequency of symptomatic COVID-19 (the primary endpoint) in the bamlanivimab treatment arm versus placebo (odds ratio 0.43, p=0.00021).

The research ended this weekend with an emergency meeting of the data safety and monitoring board, an independent group monitoring the incoming results.

Tracking COVID-19 vaccine distribution: How many people in the U.S. have received a shot? Lilly was said to be building production capacity for bamlanivimab to around 1 million 700-mg doses by year-end 2020, and the prevention dose strength-at six times the treatment dose-is an important consideration for supply, Porges noted. They are delivered via hourlong infusions when patients are highly contagious.

Bamlanivimab is not authorized for use in patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19, who require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19, or who require an increase in baseline oxygen flow rate due to COVID-19 in those on chronic oxygen therapy due to underlying non-COVID-19 related comorbidity. Serious and unexpected adverse events may occur that have not been previously reported with bamlanivimab use.

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