Eli Lilly said it expects to begin clinical testing as soon as next month for an experimental COVID-19 treatment that uses antibodies derived from the blood of people who have recovered from the infection, reported The Wall Street Journal.
CEO David Ricks said the testing could yield results by late summer and, if successful, potential emergency authorization by the FDA by early fall.
The potential treatment may be able to "dramatically reduce viral load in people either about to get sick, or who are sick or even hospitalized," Ricks said, adding "that could be available, if we're expecting a fall surge, to help really knock down the disease in the fall."
Eli Lilly is co-developing the antibodies with AbCellera Biologics under an agreement announced in March.
Ricks suggested that an antibody drug could provide a "bridging approach" to battling the virus until a vaccine is developed.
Eli Lilly expects to ask the FDA in May for permission to begin human testing of the antibody drug, with testing to start soon thereafter if the agency allows it.
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