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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EU and US take steps to battle coronavirus mutations

Electron microscopic image from the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. Image from CDC.

The EU recently added clauses to COVID-19 vaccine contracts to prioritize vaccines that are effective against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Meanwhile, a U.S. House bill that would provide $1.75 billion for genomic sequencing of coronavirus samples is scheduled for floor debate and the Senate is considering similar legislation.

The UK variant (B.1.1.7) that is spreading across Europe and the U.S. is more infectious and possibly more dangerous than earlier strains and could become dominant in the U.S. by March, according to CDC projections. Even more potentially threatening are the South Africa (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1) variants, which are also spreading in both regions.

The U.K. helped the world understand the threat of B.1.1.7 with its sizable genomic sequencing apparatus. The country has sequenc…

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