Eli Lilly COVID-19 drug combo cuts risk of hospitalizations, deaths by 87%: study

The findings further support dosing already authorized by the FDA, Lilly said

A combination of two Eli Lilly antibody drugs cut the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths by 87%, the company announced Wednesday, further upholding dosing already authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

The findings draw from a BLAZE-1 Phase 3 cohort with 769 mild-to-moderate coronavirus patients aged 12 and up at high-risk of progressing to severe disease. There were 15 "events" like hospitalizations or deaths in the placebo group, and four "events" in a group of patients taking 700 mg of bamlanivimab and 1400 mg of etesevimab together, "representing an 87 percent risk reduction," Lilly announced.

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The company noted four deaths, which were all associated with COVID-19 and all occurred in the placebo group. Lilly said the new findings were consistent with other data previously announced, like a cohort involving high-risk patients given 2800 mg of bamlanivimab and 2800 mg of etesevimab, resulting in a 70% reduction in risk of hospitalization and death. 

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"These positive results reinforce our previous findings and support the authorized dose of bamlanivimab 700 mg with etesevimab 1400 mg," Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, said in a news release posted Wednesday. "These compelling data – in addition to the recent EUA from FDA, the CHMP decision from EMA and the recommendation for the therapy in the National Institutes of Health's COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines – give healthcare providers additional information regarding the use of bamlanivimab and etesevimab together as a potentially life-saving treatment to help those most at risk for severe complications of COVID-19."

Skovronsky added that the results show the drugs remain effective despite the recent concerning variants, "particularly" those coursing throughout the U.S.