US health officials on Friday paused rollout of Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody therapy combining bamlanivimab and etesevimab as it failed to show effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 variants first identified in Brazil and South Africa, as reported in Fidelity.
The department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also halted the distribution of standalone etesevimab to be paired with existing supply of bamlanivimab. The latter saw its emergency-use authorization revoked earlier this year and has since been required to be used with etesevimab.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the Gamma variant, first detected in Brazil, and the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, together now make up for more 11% of infections in the US and that the number is growing.
The HHS also said Regeneron's antibody therapy REGEN-COV, and GlaxoSmithKline and partner Vir Biotechnology's sotrovimab are likely to be effective against the variants.
The FDA recommended hospitals to use Regeneron and GSK/Vir therapies instead of Eli Lilly's combination therapy until further notice.
"As variants continue to evolve and their patterns of transmission and prevalence shift, we will continue our work with governments and regulators worldwide to ensure our antibodies are available to appropriate patients," Eli Lilly said
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