Get ready for the best coronavirus news we've seen from the biopharmaceutical industry to date. An interim peek at a clinical trial with an experimental treatment from Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) suggests LY-CoV555 could be an effective treatment option for COVID-19 patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.

The first experimental COVID-19 antiviral treatment to score

The FDA has granted, and in some cases rescinded, emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 treatments that were around before SARS-CoV-2 made its debut in late 2019. If authorized, Lilly could launch the first treatment aimed directly at the novel coronavirus responsible for the pandemic. Back in March, Eli Lilly and its collaboration partner, AbCellera, isolated a pair of promising antibodies, LY-CoV555 and LY-CoV016, from a panel of more than 500 proteins found in blood samples of COVID-19 patients who recovered.

Scientist reading a complicated report.

Image source: Getty Images.

In June, Eli Lilly and AbCellera began the Blaze-1 study, a controlled, randomized trial currently testing LY-CoV555, and a combination of LY-CoV555 and LY-CoV016 as potential treatments for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms. The primary outcome being measured is the difference in viral load 11 days after beginning treatment, and it looks like one of three dosages of LY-CoV555 tested as a monotherapy hit the mark. 

At the interim analysis, the 2,800-milligram dosage significantly reduced the amount of circulating SARS-COV-2, but the differences observed with the 700-milligram dosage and the 7,000-milligram dosage didn't reach statistical significance on day 11. 

It's important to hit the goals set out at the beginning of a clinical trial, but outcome measurements are what matters most. An ongoing phase 3 trial with LY-CoV555 will provide a clearer picture, but it looks like this treatment will become a powerful weapon for healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19-positive patients treated with any dosage strength were 77% less likely to report a COVID-19-related hospitalization or ER visit.

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