Biotech company Eli Lilly announced yesterday the first antibody treatment against COVID-19 called LY-CoV555 currently beginning study.

The treatment has been administered to a small group of participants in a Phase I study. Results of this first phase are expected by the end of this month. Lilly’s product is developed from one of the first recovered patients of COVID-19.

“Lilly scientists rapidly developed the antibody in just three months after AbCellera and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) identified it from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19. LY-CoV555 is the first potential new medicine specifically designed to attack SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

The company is taking an optimistic approach, announcing they are already gearing up for mass production of the product.

Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories said in the release, “At the same time as we are investigating safety and efficacy, we also are starting large-scale manufacturing of this potential therapy. If LY-CoV555 becomes part of the near-term solution for COVID-19, we want to be ready to deliver it to patients as quickly as possible, with the goal of having several hundred thousand doses available by the end of the year“

South Korea not far behind

On the same day, Celltrion Healthcare, a South Korean group announced successful preclinical trials of their antibody treatment expecting to enter human trials by July.

“Celltrion is drawing on its expertise, innovation and previous experience in coronaviruses, such as efforts researching the efficacy of CT-P38, an investigational antibody to treat Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as well as CT-P27, a multi-antibody drug for influenza which is being tested in a phase 2b study, to develop a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19,” said Ki-Sung Kwon, Head of R&D Unit at Celltrion. “Celltrion is leveraging its advanced technologies to lead efforts to develop a novel antiviral antibody treatment containing potent therapeutic antibodies that can neutralise the virus. Celltrion hopes to commence first-in-human clinical trials in July and has the capability to roll out mass production of the therapeutic antibody treatment once it is ready.”