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August 03, 2020

Eli Lilly launching COVID-19 treatment trial in nursing homes

Experimental drug blocks the coronavirus from attaching to human cells

Senior Health COVID-19
Eli Lilly COVID-19 treatment Source/Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly is initiating a Phase 3 trial to investigate whether a new COVID-19 antibody treatment can prevent the spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes. Above, a company operator manipulates the antibody's nutrient media.

An experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment will soon be tested in U.S. nursing homes, where the coronavirus has spread with devastating consequences.

Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has initiated a Phase 3 clinical trial on LY-CoV555, a treatment created in collaboration with AbCellera, a Canadian biotech company. It will enroll 2,400 residents and staffers of long-term care facilities with recent cases of COVID-19. 

More than 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the United States has been linked to long-term care facilities. The rapid spread within those facilities, plus the higher mortality rates of the elderly, has left residents particularly vulnerable.  

"COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on nursing home residents," said Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly's chief scientific officer. "We're working as fast as we can to create medicines that might stop the spread of the virus to these vulnerable individuals."

The trial aims to determine whether a single dose of LY-CoV555 can be given as an effective preventive measure. The drug is designed to block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from attaching to human cells. 

The study will be conducted using mobile research units, including custom retrofitted recreational vehicles that can be quickly deployed to affected nursing homes.

Eli Lilly is partnering with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and several U.S. long-term care facility networks for this phase of study. 

The company has completed a Phase 1 study involving patients hospitalized with COVID-19. A Phase 2 study involving COVID-19 patients who have not been hospitalized is ongoing. 

So far, the drug has been well tolerated at all doses tested, with no drug-related severe adverse events reported. Efficacy data hasn't been released.

Similar monoclonal antibody treatments also are under investigation against COVID-19. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. is conducting a Phase 3 trial on its double antibody cocktail for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

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