American pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company on October 13 announced the suspension of its COVID-19 antibody treatment over unspecified safety issues. Eli Lilly spokesperson told Fox News on Tuesday that the trial was put on hold due to safety concerns after the company received a recommendation from US regulators. The trial was testing the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 antibody therapy developed by the company.
Eli Lilly's antibody therapy has been funded by the United States Department of Health through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study was testing whether Eli Lilly's investigational antibody-based drug would benefit COVID-19 patients if given with Gilead's Remdisivir, an antiviral drug being used in the treatment of severe COVID-19 patients. A similar treatment was also given to US President Donald Trump when he was diagnosed with the viral disease on October 2.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 326 patients were enrolled in the study programme before it was paused on Tuesday. The study was paused after a data review of 300 patients by an independent board. The safety board has also recommended continuing the follow-up process with the patients enrolled in the study and data will be once again analysed later this month.
On October 12, Johnson & Johnson also suspended the trial of its COVID-19 vaccine citing unspecified illness in participants. Last month, AstraZeneca, the frontrunner in COVID-19 vaccine development, had also temporarily paused the trial of its vaccine that it developed in partnership with Oxford University. The trial was suspended after participants reported side-effects. The trial was later resumed and is currently ongoing.