An antibody treatment developed by Eli Lilly and Chinese company Junshi Biosciences to fight Covid-19 was dosed to a healthy volunteer on Monday.
The trial is underway in China, Lilly will start a complementary Phase one study in the United States in the next few days, the company said, reports the CNN.
Scientists will first test to see if this antibody treatment, called JS016, is safe to be used in humans. If so, it will be tested to see if it if effective.
If this first phase is successful, more trials will run to determine how to use it most effectively.
The companies will also experiment to see if the antibody could be used on its own or if it would be more effective used in combination with other antibody candidates. JS016 appeared to neutralize the virus in the lab. Lilly and Junshi scientists are testing other potential antibodies in the lab to see which work best.
This is the second such antibody therapy trial from the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company. Lilly is testing another antibody treatment called LY-COV555 that the company developed with AbCellera.
Junshi Biosciences is leading development in greater China, according to Lilly, and Eli Lilly has exclusive rights to it in the rest of the world.
There are several other companies trying to create antibody therapies to fight Covid-19, including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which has said it expects to begin clinical trials this month.
Antibodies are proteins your body makes in the thousands that naturally fight off infection. To make an antibody therapy, scientists have to sort through thousands of antibodies to determine which work best to neutralize a particular threat.
Typically, drug developers will pick one and then clone it until there are enough monoclonal antibodies to put in a medicine.
Antibody treatments are currently used to treat some cancers, eye problems, chronic and infectious disease. The treatments can be used to treat symptoms or potentially as a protective medicine to prevent infection in vulnerable populations like the elderly or in health care workers.