Eli Lilly begins human test of potential coronavirus antibody treatment

The initial study will have about 40 patients

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Eli Lilly said Monday it began the world’s first human trial of a potential antibody treatment for the novel coronavirus.

The Indianapolis-based company said its early-stage study is designed to determine the treatment’s effectiveness on patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The experimental drug is derived from a blood sample taken from one of the first American patients who recovered from COVID-19.

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The initial study will have about 40 patients, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Monday. Results are expected by the end of June.

“We take the very best one or two antibodies, and we scale them up and make them into a medicine,” Rick said. “A very potent medicine. We’ve already initiated the process to begin production. We could have 100,000 or more doses available this fall.”

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The U.S. has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, totaling more than 1.79 million. As of Monday morning, the virus had killed 104,383 individuals in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins University data. During the outbreak’s peak, the U.S. had roughly 60,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at one time.

“We also want to study the medicine before people get to the hospital,” he said. “And perhaps even a bigger study in what we would call prophylactics, prevention for those patients who are most at risk with compromised immune systems, maybe cancer therapy, or the elderly. This is an important bridge therapy until a vaccination could arrive.”

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The treatment, LY-CoV555, has been developed through Eli Lilly’s collaboration with AbCellera Biologics, a privately held company that Lilly partnered with in March.

Globally, there are about a dozen vaccine candidates in the first stages of testing or about to begin. Some of the notable ones that have garnered attention in recent weeks include those created by biotech company Moderna and a different one from Oxford University.

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