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INDIANAPOLIS–Two vaccines for coronavirus have shown promise to be more than 90 percent effective against the disease. But, if Eli Lilly’s new antibody treatment drug is administered early enough, people who get the virus may not have to go to the hospital. That may make for two avenues to reducing the effect of the virus on society.


The name of the drug is nearly unpronounceable, “bamlanivimab”. But, its use could mean less weight on hospitals around the country.

Lilly was granted emergency use authorization last week by the Food and Drug Administration, and the first doses were administered in Indiana.

“We got an approval Monday night, shipped the drug on Tuesday and the first two patients in the country received the drug at Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville,” said Eli Lilly CFO Josh Smiley, talking to Inside Indiana Business. He said the drug is being made at a Lilly facility in New Jersey.

Smiley said the process for developing a drug like bamlanivimab normally takes between five and ten years. In this case, it took eight months.

“What we received the emergency use authorization for are for patients who are newly disgnosed who would be at high risk for hospitalization,” he said. That could be people over 65 or people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes.

“If they get the drug early in the course of their disease, our study showed over 70 percent reduction in their chance of being hospitalized,” he said.