Eli Lilly: Antibody combo works best on COVID-19 variants

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(Photo courtesy of Eli Lilly and Co.)

Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. says its COVID-19 antibody drug should no longer be given to patients alone because treatment combinations work better fighting some variants of the coronavirus.

The Indianapolis-based company is asking U.S. regulators to revoke their emergency authorization for the use of bamlanivimab alone. Lilly announced Friday there are no new safety concerns with the drug, but the combination with another drug etesevimab fights more of the emerging COVID-19 variants in the U.S.

Last November, bamlanivimab became the first antibody authorized for emergency use in the U.S. as a COVID-19 treatment. Antibodies are proteins that attach to a virus and block it from infecting cells.

The combination of drugs also has received an emergency use authorization from federal regulators. The government has been supplying treatments to hospitals, and last month it stopped delivering bamlanivimab alone in favor of treatment combinations.

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