Drugmaker Eli Lilly said Tuesday it was pausing its trial of a combination antibody treatment for coronavirus for safety reasons.
Usually, clinical trials are paused because a volunteer has suffered a side effect or become ill, but the company did not say what happened.
“Safety is of the upmost importance to Lilly,” a spokesperson told CNN by email.
It said the trial’s Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), an independent group of medical experts who monitor clinical trials, had recommended the pause.
“The trial, evaluating Lilly’s investigational neutralizing antibody as a treatment for COVID-19 in hospitalized patients, is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent DSMB to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study,” the company said in the statement.
Lilly is testing a combination of two lab-engineered immune system proteins called monoclonal antibodies to treat severely ill patients with coronavirus. It is similar to the treatment made by Regeneron that was given to President Trump earlier this month.
The news comes after drugmaker Johnson & Johnson announced that it learned of an “unexplained illness” in one of the volunteers which caused it to pause its Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trial in the US on Sunday, and immediately informed the DSMB, which monitors clinical trial developments.
The drugmaker said it did not know whether the volunteer who became ill had received the vaccine or placebo.