Jan 22, 2021
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A drug developed by Eli Lilly dramatically reduced the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 among nursing home residents, the company said.
Of 299 residents, half of whom received a placebo, those randomized to receive the drug bamlanivimab had up to an 80% lower risk of contracting COVID-19, according to a study that has not yet been published.
Health care providers at the same nursing homes were statistically less likely to contract symptomatic COVID-19 after receiving bamlanivimab, which was delivered in a 4,200 mg dose. Among 41 residents who already tested positive for the virus, none died after receiving the drug compared with four deaths in the placebo group.
The BLAZE-2 COVID-19 prevention trial was conducted in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Bamlanivimab, which is authorized for use in high-risk COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate disease, is a so-called monoclonal antibody – meaning it provides a manufactured version of antibodies the immune system naturally makes to fight an infection.
“The results of this innovative study further support the belief that bamlanivimab – and potentially other monoclonal antibodies – can reduce symptoms and may even prevent COVID-19,” Dr. Myron Cohen, who helped lead the study and directs the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said in a statement. “The antiviral activity seen with bamlanivimab treatment emphasizes the importance of early intervention to help counter the devastating impact the virus has had in this vulnerable population and other high-risk patients.”