The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly's investigational monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients.
Bamlanivimab is authorized for patients with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds), and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. This includes those who are 65 years of age or older, or who have certain chronic medical conditions.
While the safety and effectiveness of this investigational therapy continues to be evaluated, bamlanivimab was shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment when compared to placebo.
Bamlanivimab is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19. A benefit of bamlanivimab treatment has not been shown in patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies, such as bamlanivimab, may be associated with worse clinical outcomes when administered to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 requiring high flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation.
“As illustrated by today’s action, the FDA remains committed to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments and providing sick patients timely access to new therapies where appropriate, while at the same time supporting research to further evaluate whether they are safe and effective,” said FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn. “Through our Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program, the FDA continues to work around the clock and use every tool at our disposal toward these efforts.”
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses. Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody that is specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells.
“The FDA’s emergency authorization of bamlanivimab provides health care professionals on the frontline of this pandemic with another potential tool in treating COVID-19 patients,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We will continue to evaluate new data on the safety and efficacy of bamlanivimab as they become available.”