Antibody treatment from American drug manufacturer entering phase one of human trials

The treatment was developed in partnership between Eli Lilly and Canadian drugmaker AbCellera.

(Dowell / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
June 3, 2020 - 9:03am

Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has begun early human trials of the world’s first potential antibody treatment for the novel coronavirus.

Phase one of the trial will determine whether the treatment is safe and well-tolerated by patients who have been hospitalized with the novel virus that has caused a global pandemic, the company said Monday.

Like several other treatments currently in development, Eli Lilly’s targets the spike-shaped proteins that cover the outer shell of the coronavirus, preventing it from locking on to human cells.

The antibodies in the treatment were taken from one of the first recovered coronavirus patients in the United States. It was then developed by Eli Lilly in partnership with Canadian drug manufacturing company AbCellera. 

If phase one of the trial is successful, phase two will explore the treatment's results in non-hospitalized coronavirus patients. The company expects findings from their first phase to come back by the end of June.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than six million people worldwide, killing just over 375,000.

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