Monday Roundup

Let’s begin with a story that surprised as well as interested the FEHBlog. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration is requiring health plans, insurers, and other low hazard employers to report to OSHA “work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, an amputation or the loss of an eye.” Other employers have broader recording and reporting obligations.

A friend of the FEHBlog called to his attention this Newsweek interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci about whether we may encounter a second wave of COVID-19. While Dr. Fauci expects COVID-19 infections to continue at least through 2020, Dr. “Fauci says whether or not these ongoing new cases will become a wave will depend on whether ‘we prepare ourselves from now through June, July, August and September. We have four months to make sure we have in place the system, the test, the capability, the manpower to do the kind of identification, isolation and contact tracing as cases begin to reappear in the fall, because they will reappear.'”

STATNews also also features an interview with Dr. Fauci which focuses on vaccine development.

Today, prescription drug manufacturer Eli Lilly announced

[hospital] patients have been dosed in the world’s first study of a potential antibody treatment designed to fight COVID-19.

This investigational medicine, referred to as LY-CoV555, is the first to emerge from the collaboration between Lilly and AbCellera to create antibody therapies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Lilly scientists rapidly developed the antibody in just three months after AbCellera and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) identified it from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19. LY-CoV555 is the first potential new medicine specifically designed to attack SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The FEHBlog heard a discussion of the investigational new drug on television this morning. The Eli Lilly representative explained that this drug focuses on one antibody while convalescent plasma relies on an array of antibodies. The investigation. The Wall Street Journal explains that

Researchers at AbCellera Biologics Inc., a Canadian company that partnered with Lilly in March, and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases identified an antibody with virus-fighting potential in a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from Covid-19.

Lilly’s scientists then essentially cloned the antibody to make the new therapy [which is administered intravenously]. Its goal is to block the virus from attaching to and entering human cells, thus neutralizing it.

This first random study uses hospitalized patients and if successful the next random study will use non-hospitalized patients. “Lilly said it is starting large-scale manufacturing of the therapy, so that if studies prove successful, it will have several hundred thousand doses available by the end of the year.” Let’s go.

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