U.S. hospitals to restrict Lilly COVID-19 antibody treatment due to limited supply
(Reuters) – U.S. hospitals, weighing high demand and tight supplies, said they may limit use of a new Eli Lilly and Co LLY.N antibody drug to COVID-19 patients with multiple risk factors for serious illness or to those whose immune systems have not begun to fight the infection. The treatment, bamlanivimab, was given U.S. emergency use authorization (EUA) last week by the Food and Drug Administration for helping newly-diagnosed, high-risk patients avoid hospitalization.
“There will be a lot of pressure on physicians,” said Dr. Adarsh Bhimraj, an infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic and chair of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s guidelines panel, which is still discussing its recommendations for the drug.
President Donald Trump has touted experimental antibody drugs after being treated with a similar therapy from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN.O during his own bout with COVID-19.
The federal government has paid $1,250 per dose for 300,000 doses of bamlanivimab, which experts estimate may only be enough for one weeks’ worth of Americans becoming infected, based on the FDA label identifying appropriate patients.
The United States on Sunday crossed 11 million total coronavirus infections just a little over a week after hitting the 10 million mark since the pandemic began. Medical groups and hospitals said they are working to establish criteria for which patients are likely to benefit most from the drug, which consists of manufactured copies of an antibody made by the human body to fight COVID-19. “Otherwise, we will be out of drug real soon,” said Dr. Howard Huang, a lung specialist at Houston Methodist.