The Doctors are pleased to share potentially promising news in the fight against coronavirus/COVID-19, as the first human trial of an antibody therapy designed to treat the virus has reportedly started.
According to CNN, Eli Lilly and Company has begun the first phase of the trial with hospitalized COVID patients in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, and expects the first results about whether the therapy is safe and well-tolerated by subjects by the end of the month. The company reportedly says if the treatment is shown to be effective it could be available in the fall.
"Until now, scientists have been trying to repurpose medicines, drugs, that were designed for new diseases to see if they work in Covid-19, but as soon as this epidemic started, we got to work making a new medicine against this disease," Dr. Dan Skovronsky, Eli Lilly's senior vice president and chief scientific officer, said. Adding, "Now we're ready and testing it in patients."
Using antibodies from one of the first patients to survive COVID, Eli Lilly and the Candian biotechnology company AbCellera, created the treatment, known as monoclonal antibody therapy, a method that has been used to treat other illnesses like HIV, asthma, lupus, Ebola and certain types of cancer.
While it is still unknown how it will perform on human subjects, when the therapy was used on cells in a lab, it reportedly stopped the virus from infecting cells.
Next, a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial will begin and if that appears to be safe, the next phase of testing -- with more patients -- could reportedly start in weeks. Also, the company reportedly plans to test whether the treatment can be used as a prevention treatment for the elderly and those who have a chronic disease or compromised immune systems. Large amounts of the treatment are already reportedly being produced by Eli Lilly.
"If it does work, we don't want to waste a single day, we want to have as much medicine as possible available to help as many people quickly," Dr. Skovronsky told CNN.
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