WASHINGTON: The US has begun late stage clinical trials into a drug formulated to fight Covid-19, officials said Tuesday. The medicine is an antibody against the new coronavirus called LY-CoV555, which was identified in the blood sample of a recovered patient by Canada's Abcellera Biologics. It was then developed synthetically for mass production by US-based Lilly Research Laboratories in partnership with Abcellera.
The Phase 3 trial will initially enroll some 300 volunteers around the world who have been hospitalized with mild to moderate Covid-19 with fewer than 13 days of symptoms. Each will be assigned either the medicine, which will be injected intravenously, or a placebo.
Patients will also receive standard care for Covid-19, including the antiviral remdesivir. The new Phase 3 trial is being led by Jens Lundgren, of the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet, and could expand to up to 1,000 people, including the more severely ill, if LY-CoV555 appears safe and effective after the fifth day. The trial's main goal is the patients' sustained recovery for 14 days after release from the hospital.