Image: Eli Lillly

Eli Lilly’s Covid-19 antibody trial paused over safety concern

CAPE TOWN- US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co said on Tuesday that the clinical trial of its Covid-19 antibody treatment has been paused due to a potential safety concern.

The government-sponsored clinical trial was designed to test the benefits of the therapy on hundreds of people hospitalized with Covid-19. Lilly has not communicated the nature of the safety concern, how many volunteers were sick, or any details about their illness. 

In an email obtained by Brief19, Lilly said that the ACTIV-3 trial is a randomized blinded clinical trial testing the safety and effectiveness of a monoclonal antibody in combination with remdesivir, an antiviral with emergency use authorization for Covid-19. This trial is designed to test this combination against a combination of remdesivir and placebo alone.

The announcement comes one day after Johnson & Johnson said that it had paused the clinical trials for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate after an unexplained illness by a participant.


Lilly spokeswoman Molly McCully said in an emailed statement to NBC News that the company supports the decision to pause the study. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, the ACTIV-3 independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) has recommended a pause in enrollment. Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent DSMB to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study,” she said.

U.S. President Donald Trump received a similar kind of treatment or antibody cocktail made by Regeneron while hospitalized earlier this month. Trump also received remdesivir at that time.

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