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Drug Maker: Antibody Study Gives Hint of Help

Αssociated Press

FILE - This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Eli Lilly & Co. corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

INDIANAPOLIS — A drug company says partial results from a study testing an antibody drug give hints that it may help mild to moderately ill COVID-19 patients from needing to be hospitalized.

Eli Lilly announced the results Wednesday in a press release, but they have not been published or reviewed by independent scientists. The drug missed the study’s main goal of reducing the amount of virus patients had after 11 days, except at the middle of three doses being tested. However, most study participants had cleared the virus by then anyway.

Antibodies are proteins the body makes when an infection occurs; they attach to a virus and help it be eliminated. The blood of survivors is being tested as a treatment for COVID-19 patients because it contains such antibodies. But the strength and types of antibodies varies depending on each donor.

The drugs Lilly and other companies are testing involve concentrated versions of specific antibodies that worked best against the coronavirus in lab and animal tests, and can be made in large, standardized doses.