Combined COVID-19 antibody therapy shows promise in reducing hospitalizations & deaths, Texas researchers say


ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A combined COVID-19 antibody therapy from drug maker Eli Lilly is showing promise in reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. The cocktail consists of bamlanivimab combined with another monoclonal antibody, etesevimab, and is currently in clinical trials.

Baylor Scott & White Health in Round Rock is holding a trial for the combined therapy. The trial is in Phase 2 with low-risk patients. It began last July and the hospital is still enrolling participants.

Robert L. Gottlieb, MD, PhD, is the lead principal investigator for multiple COVID-19 therapeutic trials at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute. In this recent publication, his team found the treatment showed a statistically significant reduction in SARS-CoV-2 viral load at day 11.

“We don’t want to just treat a virus, we want to treat the patient. Before, we had shown that we were effective in treating the virus, now we’ve shown we are effective at helping the patient recover,” Gottlieb said.

Researchers found the single infusion of the cocktail used within at least three days of the first positive test was a jumpstart in clearing the virus.

The chart below from Eli Lilly displays how COVID-19 symptoms were impacted by the combined therapy. No deaths were reported when using the therapy and hospitalizations were decreased significantly.

Late last summer Michelle Herrera and her family were all diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We knew at the time that nobody was going to come and help us with the kids, and we knew one of us had to get better quickly,” Herrera said.

That’s when she and her husband enrolled in Baylor Scott & White’s bamlanivimab clinical trial. The antibody therapy minimizes COVID-19 symptoms to keep patients out of the hospital.

“It was great, within a couple of days all of my symptoms were gone. It really just took it completely away really quickly,” said Herrera.

Although she is not a participant in the combined therapy, seeing the impact of bamlanivimab alone gives her hope the cocktail will be even more effective in fighting the coronavirus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized bamlanivimab and researchers are now waiting on emergency use authorization for the bamlanivimab and etesevimab combined therapy. They hope that will come in the “near future”.

There will be criteria for those who can receive the therapy specifically based on age, weight and immunosuppressive diseases.

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