HHS halts distribution of Lilly’s bamlanivimab/etesevimab antibody cocktail

U.S. government authorities have decided to immediately pause the distribution of Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab and etesevimab over concerns that the monoclonal antibody cocktail is ineffective against some SARS-CoV-2 variants.

CDC recently concluded that the Gamma variant (P.1) and the Beta variant (B.1.351) make up 11% of COVID-19 infections. They are also continuing to become more dominant, as is the Delta variant (B.1.617.2). CDC has determined that the Delta variant is possibly less responsive to some monoclonal antibody treatments.

The Beta and Gamma variants are significantly less responsive to bamlanivimab and etesevimab than other viral lineages.

Bamlanivimab and etesevimab image courtesy of Lilly.

FDA is recommending Regeneron’s REGEN-COV and GSK’s sotrovimab as more robust antibody therapies.

In related news, FDA recently granted emergency use authorization to tocilizumab, a monoc…

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Anifrolumab data promising for systemic lupus erythematosus

AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) has announced that a new posthoc analysis of data from the TULIP Phase 3 clinical trials of anifrolumab showed promise in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common type of lupus. Anifrolumab is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the activity of interferons such as interferon-α and interferon-β. If approved, anifrolumab would be a first-in-class type I interferon inhibitor.

The most recent clinical trial data demonstrated that anifrolumab led to consistent skin rash and arthritis improvements in patients with moderate to severe SLE compared to placebo.

“Arthritis and rash are the most common and persistent problems in lupus and often have a significant impact on a person’s life,” said Joan Merrill, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program, U.S., in a statement. The data from the recent analysis indicate that anifrolumab was “consistently effective using three different…

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