While vaccines may help slow the COVID-19 pandemic over the coming months, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced on Tuesday that its treatments may help save lives in the meantime. The company’s drug bamlanivimab was cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration late last year and has been used by 125,000 high-risk patients nationwide based on data at a stage early suggesting it might be effective. The drug is a monoclonal antibody, which means that it mimics one of the natural antibodies that the immune system uses to fight the virus. Former President Donald Trump as well as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani all received monoclonal antibodies shortly after their diagnosis of COVID-19. In a large, late-stage study the company unveiled on Tuesday, bamlanivimab in combination with another monoclonal antibody, etesevimab, has been shown to be extremely effective in high-risk patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Among the patients who received a placebo, 10% of those at high risk ended up in hospital, compared with only 2% of those who received the drug cocktail – a drop of 70%. Patients were diagnosed an average of four days before treatment. None of the 518 patients who received the cocktail died, compared with eight deaths in an equal-sized group of people with COVID-19 who received a placebo. The single drug and cocktail have also performed well, said Lilly’s scientific director Dr Daniel Skovronsky, but the company will switch to the combination once it receives FDA clearance. The combination is more likely to remain effective, he told an afternoon press conference, as the virus that causes COVID-19 evolves, leading to new variants. “Bamlanivimab alone should be effective against over 99% of all the strains we see in the United States today,” he said. “Bamlanivimab plus etesevimab should take care of the rest of them.” The company can also add a third or fourth monoclonal if needed in the future to handle any variants that escape the current two-drug combination, he said. An earlier study by Lilly also showed that bamlanivimab may reduce serious illness in nursing home residents at high risk of COVID-19 and in the first few days after infection. In future trials, Lilly will compare her proposed treatments to this combination, Skovronsky said, rather than to a placebo. Because the combination is so effective, it would be unethical to give a placebo to high-risk patients, he said. There are 100,000 doses of bamlanivimab available today for them. patients u worldwide and another 250,000 will be available by the end of the quarter, Skovronsky said. The US government has purchased hundreds of thousands of doses of Lilly and another combination antibody to Regeneron. But many doses remain on the shelves, unused, due to the difficulties of getting the drug to patients. All data is taken from the source: Article link: #drug #newscnn #newsworldnow #newsworldbbc # usnewsworldreport # cnnnewstoday #.
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