The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will be able to purchase more than 2 million additional COVID-19 antibody treatments due to modifications to an existing agreement with Eli Lilly and Company.
The therapeutic in question, bamlanivimab, is used to treat non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients. It is administered through intravenous infusion to those with confirmed cases of the disease and who currently face mild to moderate symptoms but with a high risk of spiraling into more severe symptoms or hospitalization. The Food and Drug Administration granted bamlanivimab emergency use authorization in November 2020.
Previously, the government had been restricted to an initial 950,000 treatment course. Unlike some others, the therapeutic was developed without federal support.
Bamlanivimab is based on a monoclonal antibody identified from one of the first U.S. patients to recover from COVID-19. Such antibodies mimic the human immune response, binding to certain proteins of viruses to reduce their ability to infect human cells. They are produced outside of the body by a single clone of cells or a cell line with identical antibody molecules before infusion.