US health regulators have paused drug firm Eli Lilly’s trial of an antibody treatment for Covid-19, due to safety concerns. The setback comes a day after a separate vaccine trial was halted due to an “unexplained illness.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, the ACTIV-3 independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) has recommended a pause in enrollment,” an Eli Lilly spokeswoman told reporters on Tuesday.
While the reason for the suspension wasn’t revealed, the spokeswoman said the trial was paused “to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study.”
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The drug on trial is a monoclonal antibody treatment, similar to the Regeneron treatment taken by US President Donald Trump after his Covid diagnosis. It was being tested alongside the antiviral drug Remdesivir as part of the National Institute of Health’s ‘Activ’ program, which is designed to speed up the development of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
Just last week, Trump promised to get both Regeneron and Eli Lilly’s drug approved “urgently.” It remains unclear how the current pause could affect Eli Lilly’s chances of bringing their offering to market.
The news came one day after US drugmaker Johnson & Johnson temporarily halted its vaccine trial, after a participant developed an “unexplained illness.” In the UK, pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial has been paused twice, after two volunteers developed the same rare neurological condition.
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