Antibody Treatment Approved for Emergency Use Against Early COVID-19

TUESDAY, Nov. 10, 2020 — Eli Lilly’s experimental antibody treatment for COVID-19 was given emergency approval by the U.S. and Food Administration on Monday.

In a statement, the FDA said its approval of the antibody treatment, called bamlanivimab, is solely for people newly infected with COVID-19 “who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.” The agency warned that it should not be used in patients who are already hospitalized with the illness. Instead, the treatment should be given as soon as possible after a positive test and within 10 days of developing symptoms. It is geared toward people who are at risk for developing severe COVID-19. That includes people who are older than 65 years and those who are obese, the FDA said. In early studies, researchers discovered those groups seemed to benefit the most from the treatment.

In October, the company announced that it had reached a $375 million deal to sell 300,000 doses of the treatment to the U.S. government. According to The New York Times, Eli Lilly said Monday that it will begin shipping the treatment immediately to AmerisourceBergen, a national distributor, which will then distribute it on behalf of the federal government.

Eli Lilly has said it expects to have enough to treat 1 million people by the end of the year, not nearly enough to curb a virus that is now infecting an average of more than 111,000 Americans a day, The Times reported.

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