KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — The United States’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) has halted a trial of Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody treatment for the coronavirus.
STAT reported NIH as saying that one of the two groups in the trial — one received the antibody, and the other a placebo — was getting better outcomes than the other, though it did not state which group may have crossed a safety threshold.
NIH reportedly said the study’s independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) had recommended postponing the enrollment of new patients in the trial.
According to STAT, both Eli Lilly, an American pharmaceutical company, and the NIH referred to a potential safety issue, which appeared to indicate that the difference between the trial groups was due to a possible side effect.
Eli Lilly was previously quoted saying that its antibody treatment, LY-CoV555, reduced the amount of virus in Covid-19 patients’ nasal swabs and seemed to help keep patients out of hospitalisation. This study, however, was about people who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 but were not yet admitted to hospital.
The trial that was paused had instead tested LY-CoV555 in Covid-19 patients who are currently hospitalised for their disease.
The postponement of Eli Lilly’s antibody treatment study comes after Johnson & Johnson reportedly paused its Covid-19 vaccine trial because of an “unexplained illness” in a participant.
According to the Guardian, the US pharmaceutical corporation was unclear if that participant had received a placebo or the experimental coronavirus vaccine, and that it was not remarkable for large studies like Johnson & Johnson’s trial, which involves 60,000 patients, to be temporarily halted.