Canada grants interim authorization to COVID-19 drug

Canada has granted interim authorization to Eli Lilly’s antibody drug for treating COVID-19 in patients who are not hospitalized, but are at risk of serious illness because of their age or other conditions, the drugmaker said on Friday.

The news comes weeks after the treatment, bamlanivimab, was given U.S. emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration for helping newly-diagnosed, high-risk patients avoid hospitalization.

Bamlanivimab was developed in partnership with the Canadian biotech company AbCellera.

The Health Canada authorization was based on a clinical study in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, where patients treated with bamlanivimab showed reduced viral load and rates of symptoms and hospitalization.

The drug is a monoclonal antibody – a widely used class of biotech drugs – which in this case is a manufactured copy of an antibody the human body creates to fight infections.