(Reuters) – U.S. health officials on Friday decided to resume the supply of Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail to states where variants resistant to it are low, saying the therapy could work against the fast-spreading Delta variant based on lab studies.
The Department of Health and Human Services narrowed the scope of authorization for the dual-antibody therapy, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, to states including Colorado, Connecticut and Illinois, Indiana.
With the Delta variant, also known by the designation B.1.617.2, becoming the dominant strain, the prevalence of variants resistant to the therapy is steadily decreasing, the agency said.
Based on lab tests, the drugs administered together are expected to retain activity against the Delta variant, but are not expected to retain activity against the SARS-CoV-2 P.1/Gamma variant (first identified in Brazil), the B.1.351/Beta variant (first identified in South Africa), the AY.1 and AY.2 sublineages of Delta with an additional K417N mutation (commonly known as “Delta plus,” first identified in India), and the B.1.621 variant (first identified in Colombia).
The department had in June paused its distribution after the therapy failed to show effectiveness against the coronavirus variants that were first identified in Brazil and South Africa.
The supply of standalone etesevimab to be paired with existing supply of bamlanivimab is also being resumed to some states.
Regeneron’s antibody therapy REGEN-COV, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc and partner Vir Biotechnology’s sotrovimab may be used in all states, territories, and U.S. jurisdictions as they are likely to be effective against most variants including Delta, the agency said.
Bamlanivimab and etesevimab, REGEN-COV and sotrovimab are authorized for use in people 12 years and above with mild-to-moderate infection and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.
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