US stops distributing Eli Lilly antibody amid variants

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ANKARA

The US government announced Thursday it stopped distributing Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody treatment due to surge in coronavirus variants.

The monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab may not work well against the virus’ variants, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last week.

Bamlanivimab has not been approved, but has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA, according to American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

While the US government has distributed around 800,000 doses of bamlanivimab as of March 2, it spent more than $800 million to buy it as part of Operation Warp Speed — an initiative launched under former President Donald Trump’s administration to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

More than 30 million cases have been recorded in the US since the start of the pandemic, with almost 547,000 deaths, according to Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University.

Global cases have topped 125 million, while almost 2.76 million have lost their lives.

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