Analysts expect antibody treatments could help some patients, as broad distribution of coronavirus vaccine candidates is expected to be lengthy.
Many companies including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Vir Biotechnology are also testing antibody treatments for COVID-19. The drugs are the first to be designed specifically to fight COVID-19.
Of the total 302 patients treated with three different doses of LY-CoV555, five of them, or 1.7%, had to be admitted to a hospital or visited a hospital emergency room, compared with 6%, or 9 out of 150 on placebo, Lilly said.
Only the middle dose, of 2,800 milligrams, achieved the trial’s main goal of reducing the viral load detected in patients compared to a placebo 11 days after treatment, Lilly said.
No drug-related serious adverse events or trial deaths were reported.
Lilly said it expects to publish the results of the interim analysis in a peer-reviewed journal and discuss appropriate next steps with global regulators.
It said the trial, which is ongoing, has now enrolled 800 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. The study is also testing LY-CoV555 in combination with another antibody treatment, LY-CoV016.
The antibodies, given by intravenous infusion, are also being tested for preventing COVID-19 in residents and staff at long-term care facilities and for treating patients already hospitalised due to COVID-19.
Lilly’s shares rose 1.3% to $152 before the opening bell.