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Eli Lilly said Thursday that its monoclonal antibody prevented Covid-19 infections in nursing home residents and staff in a clinical trial, the first time such a treatment has been shown to prevent infection.

Lilly released the results in a press release, although it said that it would publish the data in a research paper as quickly as possible.


In November, the antibody, bamlanivimab, was authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration in treating patients with Covid who are at risk of more severe disease. An antibody cocktail made by the biotechnology firm Regeneron has also been authorized.

But Lilly believes its antibody could be an option not just to treat Covid-19 but to help prevent it in limited circumstances.

“Of course, I think the vaccines are more effective than prophylaxis and likely longer lasting,” Daniel Skovronsky, Eli Lilly’s chief scientific officer, said in an interview. “So this should not be seen in any way as competition to vaccines. It should be for when it’s too late, when there’s an outbreak and people are getting exposed and there’s not going to be time for a vaccine to work.”


The study, begun Aug. 3, was conducted with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Lilly used an unusual strategy: a fleet of refitted recreational vehicles that could prepare study drug, do lab work, and pull trailers that could be used as on-site infusion clinics. That meant that when a nursing home or long-term care facility had an outbreak, an RV could be dispatched. Lilly developed the antibody in collaboration with Abcellera, a Vancouver biotech.

Lilly enrolled 1,097 participants in the study. Of these, 132 tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, at the beginning of the study. Of the remaining participants, 300 were residents of long-term care facilities and the rest were facility staff, including health care workers.

Among these, 965, symptomatic Covid-19 infections were reduced by 57%. Among the 299 patients who were nursing home residents, the results were stronger still, reducing symptomatic Covid-19 cases by 80%. In both cases the result was statistically significant.

There were four deaths among the 965 patients, all of them in the placebo group. When the 132 who tested positive at the study’s beginning were included, there were another four deaths — again, only among patients who received placebo. All deaths were in residents, not staff.

Among the 299 nursing home residents, there were four deaths attributed to Covid-19, all in the placebo arm. Among the 41 nursing home residents who tested positive at the study’s beginning, there were four deaths, again in the bamlanivimab arm.

In order to get a long duration of effect from the antibodies, Lilly used a dose of 4.2 grams, about six-fold higher than the dose authorized for use in patients with Covid-19. Bamlanivimab is given intravenously.

Covid-19 vaccines have already been made available to patients in nursing homes, Skovronsky acknowledged. But he said the antibodies could still be useful if there are outbreaks in places the vaccines have not reached. Eli Lilly will discuss with the FDA whether a new emergency authorization is warranted. Regeneron is conducting its own Covid prevention study in households where one member was infected.

Skovronsky said that he also hoped that the results would encourage people who develop Covid to receive antibody treatment. Use of the monoclonal antibodies has been more sporadic than expected, in part because of distribution problems and in part because doctors and patients don’t know to ask for them. The government has purchased large stocks of antibodies from both Lilly and Regeneron; whether the drugs are used more after governments purchase them makes no difference to the companies.

  • I used the Bam. It saved my life. My wife got sick oct 31. I was taking her oxygen readings and checking the O readings on myself while checking hers. My family and myself were trying to find something to slow covid down in my wife. We were too late, but were ready when I got sick. I took it on my 4th day from positive test. My lungs improved dramatically within 30 hours. I still got sick, but I am alive my wife is not. Use Bam, it works.

  • “again in the bamlanivimab arm” This is the first time this term has been used, so again is radically out of place and written in a way as to make the reader think it was the placebo arm.

  • I have seafood and fish allergies as well as asthma and can’t receive some vaccines. Is it possible I could take the Eli Lilly antibody to prevent covid? I am 61 and don’t have any insurance either. How much would it cost?

  • Ivermectin has been shown in very solid clinical studies to actually stop people from getting sick. And if taken early and even during the stage of infection, it will short the virus, and shorten hospitalization. The people who took it showed to have increased ability to fight off the virus. This is a test that was started early on, reviewed August 27, 2020 and then reviewed again before the end of 2020. It boggles my mind why the media will not cover this. And why other doctors aren’t using it. It is completely safe and proven to work.

  • Ok FDA stop messing about and approve this for prophylaxis in high risk groups IMMEDIATELY.

    You have 75-80% of the doses sitting unused. Get them into nursing home residents who haven’t been vaccinated immediately as well as anybody who is immunocompromised in the community.

    Stop with the ridiculous overcaution.

    The drug is safe and clearly works if given very early in infection or prior to exposure.

    There are 3,000+ people A DAY dying. COVID-19 is the Number 1 killer in the U.S. Stop acting like it is business as usual!!!

    • Except the data says otherwise. The mortality of nursing home residents who get COVID is somewhere around 20%. In this study, the death rate was only about 2.6% in the placebo arm and 1.3% TOTAL.

      This data is, shall I say, complete garbage.

      Notice, the don’t release the actual numbers of patients, only the relative risk reductions. Meaning that as long as the ratios were 1:5 symptomatic to not, the numbers will work. Were 20 cases in the placebo group and 4 in Bam group? 80 and 20? Who knows? Until Lily grows a pair and produces actual numbers, this is a farce!

  • Treatment of SARS Covid 2 with monoclonal antibodies has narrow indications. See NEJM JAN 21. Unhappily, Despite latter and use designation of emergency use authorisation, we can expect those indications to be largely ignored , despite limited supplies.

  • The monoclonal antibody Leronlimab has been curing Covid patients for nearly a year now, and when Phase 3 results from their severe/critical clinical trial is released in a few days, an EUA from the FDA should be forthcoming. I know you’ve heard of CytoDyn’s monoclonal antibody leronlimab that will be marketed as Vyrologix. It’s the one Stat founder adam Feuerstein has been bashing with half-truths repeatedly as if he works for short-sellers (and likely FOR big pharma’s best interests) at the expense of journalistic integrity. Leronlimab is also on tap for HIV approval after successfully completing their trials. I guess it pays better to coddle BP than it does to be a journalist who helps alert the world of a blockbuster treatment for HIV, Covid and 22 types of cancer at last count. Develop some ethics and journalistic integrity or the stat line will flatline.

  • Personally antibodies are the better approach in my opinion. I just don’t think getting a vaccine for something you may not be symptomatic to is worth the risk of an injury or reaction or death, as these cases keep reporting. Sorry to say, i’m sure everyone on this site is a vaccine worshipper compared to me

    • 11.1 cases of anaphylaxis, no deaths, per million doses given of the Pfizer-BnT COVID vaccine. so that’s pretty low and on par with many vaccines, and much less than probably half the medicines you could buy from a grocery store. it’s a demon haunted world, ain’t it?

    • Exactly! As the guy below you notes, the Pfizer vaccine has a 1/100,000 SEVERE side effect rate. Which is about 10x higher than the accepted risk of standard vaccines. What about the 29 Norwegians that died? The 10 Germans? The Florida physician? There were PLENTY of deaths – that are still under investigation.

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