Americas

Trial of Covid 'cure' hailed by Donald Trump paused over safety concerns

Trials of a coronavirus treatment hailed as a ‘cure’ by Donald Trump have been halted over safety concerns. Eli Lilly’s prototype antibody treatment was halted because of a ‘potential safety concern,’ according to emails sent to government officials Tuesday, which have been seen by The New York Times.

President Trump hailed a similar treatment by rival manufacturer Regeneron as the ‘cure’ for his own brush with coronavirus, despite scientists warning no proven cure for Covid-19 yet exists.

Eli Lilly’s ongoing trial of their antibody treatment was designed to test the proposed therapy on hospitalized Covid-19 patients. Further details of how many volunteers had fallen ill and their exact symptoms have yet to be revealed.

Enrollment for that trial – which is sponsored by the US government’s National Institutes of Health – has now been halted. An email seen by the Times said sign-ups had been halted ‘out of an abundance of caution.’

All participants were also given remdesivir, an anti-viral drug which has been officially improved as a coronavirus treatment.

Eli Lilly’s trial was paused just a day after late stage trials of Johnson & Johnson’s prototype coronavirus vaccine came to a standstill after one volunteer fell ill. Meanwhile, a rival vaccine from pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca had its trial temporarily halted after a participant in the UK suffered side effects.

That trial has since resumed everywhere except for the United States. Pauses in drug and vaccine trials are common while new products are being developed, and allow scientists to evaluate whether the reaction had been caused by the treatment itself, or something else.

More than 7.8million Americans have so-far been infected with coronavirus, and the US death toll has passed 215,000.

Treatments officially approved so-far include remdesivir, a steroid called dexamethasone, and convalescent plasma, which sees a recovered Covid sufferer’s plasma injected into someone seriously-ill with the virus, to try and boost their body’s immune response.

Scientists across the world are also working on vaccines to try and prevent or lessen the effects of a Covid infection, with no cure for the virus yet discovered.

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