- US pharma giant says candidate designed to neutralise pathogen, and has progressed to phase 3 trials
- Company says the goal of the process is to treat and halt infection
While dozens of pharmaceutical players are racing to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, a glimmer of hope has emerged on the horizon for a cure.US drug giant Eli Lilly announced on Monday that its trial of an antibody drug had progressed to phase 3, to establish whether the candidate, LY-CoV555, can prevent or treat Covid-19 in nursing homes in the US.
Antibodies are proteins the body makes in response to invasion of a foreign substance such as a virus. They can be obtained from the blood of recovered patients or created in the laboratory from genetic sequences.China has used the plasma of recovered patients to treat others but the process is limited by supply – on average, plasma from four survivors is needed to treat one patient.Lilly’s drug candidate is made in the lab and designed to target the spike protein of Sars-CoV-2, the formal name for the virus that causes Covid-19, and block the virus from entering human cells.