COVID-19 Antibody Treatments Exceed Expectations in Early Trials
Eli Lilly and Regeneron asking regulators to expand authorization of their drugs based on the new findings
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Promising new data on two antibody cocktails suggest these therapies can keep COVID-19 patients out of the hospital and even prevent illness altogether in some people.
On Tuesday, Eli Lilly said that its two-antibody combo reduced the risk for hospitalizations or death by 70 percent in newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients at high risk for serious illness and hospitalization because of their age or other health conditions, the Associated Press reported. All 10 deaths seen in the study were among those receiving placebo, not the antibody cocktail.
At the same time, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported preliminary results from an ongoing study that indicated its antibody cocktail prevented symptomatic infections in housemates of someone with COVID-19. Instead of an intravenous drip, the drug was given as multiple shots, which will make the treatment easier to deliver, the AP said.
Neither report has been published or subjected to peer review, and the Regeneron data are based on only one quarter of the patients in its study, the AP reported. U.S. regulators have allowed emergency use of some Lilly and Regeneron antibodies for mild or moderate COVID-19 cases that do not require hospitalization as research on the treatments continued. Now, both companies are asking regulators to expand authorization of their drugs based on the new findings, the AP said.
The reported Regeneron results were on the first 409 people in a study that has enrolled more than 2,000 so far. All tested negative for the virus but live with someone who has COVID-19. There were roughly half as many infections among those given the antibody treatment versus a placebo, and none on the drug developed any symptoms, the AP reported. Infections also were shorter and the amount of virus was lower among those given the antibodies. Lilly's new results were from a study of 1,035 nonhospitalized patients recently diagnosed with COVID-19. About 2 percent on the drug were later hospitalized or died versus 7 percent of the placebo group, the AP reported.