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article imageEli Lilly pauses Covid antibody trial over safety concerns

By Karen Graham     Oct 13, 2020 in Health
Eli Lilly’s phase-three trial of its ACTIV-3 monoclonal antibody treatment for coronavirus has been paused due to potential safety concerns.
According to emails that government officials sent on Tuesday to researchers at testing sites, Eli Lilly's government-sponsored clinical trial testing of a monoclonal antibody treatment in combination with the anti-viral, remdesivir, has been paused because of a “potential safety concern,” reports the New York Times.
Today's news come one day after Johnson & Johnson announced the pause of its coronavirus vaccine trial after a volunteer became sick, and a month after AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial was halted over concerns about two participants who became ill.
The Eli Lilly ACTIV-3 trial is one of a number of ongoing trials, as part of the National Institute of Health’s “Activ” program, designed to accelerate the development of vaccine treatments in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry.
"“Safety is of the utmost importance to Lilly. We are aware that, out of an abundance of caution, the ACTIV-3 independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) has recommended a pause in enrollment,” a spokeswoman Molly McCully told CNBC.
“Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent (Data Safety Monitoring Board) to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study." The company didn’t provide any information about what caused the data panel to recommend the pause.
Monoclonal antibodies
Eli Lilly's drug is part of a class of a class of treatments known as monoclonal antibodies. They are made to act like the body's immune cells, and scientists are hopeful that they will fight the virus. The treatment was made from the blood sample of one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from the coronavirus.
Public awareness over monoclonal antibodies rose sharply after President Donald Trump was given an antibody cocktail, along with Remdisever when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Trump's monoclonal antibody treatment was made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. As Trump’s health improved, he touted it it as a “cure.” But Regeneron’s CEO Leonard Schleifer has stressed that more testing is required.
Shares of Eli Lilly declined as much as 3.3 percent in afternoon trading on Tuesday in New York.
More about Eli Lilly, no information on pause, experimental monoclonal antibody, ACTIV3
 
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