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Eli Lilly halts COVID-19 antibody-treatment trial over ‘safety concern’


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Eli Lilly halts COVID-19 antibody-treatment trial over ‘safety concern’ 1

The testing of a possible antibody treatment for COVID-19 by drug giant Eli Lilly has been put on hold over a “potential safety concern,’’ a report said Tuesday.

Officials involved in the government-sponsored, late-stage clinical trials emailed testing researchers saying the program had been halted because a participant fell ill, according to the New York Times.

“Safety is of the utmost importance to Lilly,’’ company rep Molly McCully wrote The Post in an email Tuesday.

“We are aware that, out of an abundance of caution, the ACTIV-3 independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) has recommended a pause in enrollment,’’ the rep said, referring to the group of clinical research experts that helps the government oversee such trials.

“The trial, evaluating Lilly’s investigational neutralizing antibody as a treatment for COVID-19 in hospitalized patients, is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),’’ McCully said.

“Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent DSMB to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study.’’

The development comes a day after Johnson & Johnson announced it was halting its trials on a possible coronavirus vaccine because a person taking part in one of them had become ill.

The Eli Lilly trials involve a potential treatment using blood from one of the first COVID-19 patients who recovered.

The idea is to replicate the protective antibodies found in the person’s blood and combine them with the antiviral drug remdesivir for a successful treatment.

President Trump was given an experimental cocktail of manufactured antibodies to help in his bout with the virus and has since called his treatment a “miracle” and “cure” for the coronavirus.

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The Eli Lilly trials are part of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed program, which is working to quicken the development and distribution of coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

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