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US drugmaker says antibody drug could prevent COVID-19

Drugmaker Eli Lilly says its COVID-19 antibody drug helped prevent illness among residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care locations.

It’s the first major study to show an antibody medication may prevent disease. The drugmaker says residents and staff who got the drug had up to a 57% lower risk of getting COVID-19. Among nursing home residents only, there was up to an 80% reduction in risk.

US regulators last year allowed emergency use of the antibody treatment for mild or moderate COVID-19 cases that don’t require hospitalization. It’s a one-time dose given through an IV.

The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, involved more than 1,000 residents and staff at nursing homes and other long-term care locations.

In the US, those residents account for less than 1% of the population, but nearly 40% of deaths from COVID-19. The U.S. leads the world with more than 406,000 deaths.

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