Therapy Areas: Vaccines
Eli Lilly pauses trial of its COVID-19 antibody drug over safety concern
14 October 2020 -

US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co (Lilly) (NYSE:LLY) has paused the government-sponsored clinical trial of its COVID-19 antibody treatment, similar to one taken by US President Donald Trump, because of a safety concern, Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday.

Lilly spokeswoman, Molly McCully, was quoted as saying in an emailed statement: "Out of an abundance of caution, the ACTIV-3 independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) has recommended a pause in enrolment. Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent DSMB to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study."

The company had began its ACTIV-3 trial in August 2020 and is aiming to recruit 10,000 patients primarily in the US. This trial compares patients who receive its antibody drug plus Gilead Sciences Inc 's antiviral drug remdesivir, with those who receive remdesivir alone.

This announcement was made a day after US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) (NYSE:JNJ) said it was forced to pause a large high-profile trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine because a volunteer fell ill. J&J said it does not yet know if that person was given the vaccine or a placebo.

Also, British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc's (STO:AZN)(LON:AZN) US trial for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine has also been on hold for over a month after a volunteer in its UK study fell ill. Trials of that vaccine resumed in other regions after a brief halt.

According to Reuters, it is not uncommon to pause drug trials to investigate safety concerns and such actions do not necessarily indicate a serious problem. Due to the urgent need for drugs and vaccines to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic the speed with which they are being developed, these trials have come under intense scrutiny.

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