U.S. limits supply of Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody therapy in three states

FILE PHOTO: An Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical manufacturing plant is pictured in Branchburg, New Jersey
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(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it will limit distribution of Eli Lilly and Co's COVID-19 antibody therapy in three states over concerns regarding the impact of a new variant on its effectiveness.

The U.S government is evaluating recommendations for using the antibody, bamlanivimab, in regions where the variant, CAL.20C, which was found in California, is circulating in high numbers, the department said. (https://bit.ly/3ljEZzK)

While evaluations are ongoing, direct ordering of bamlanivimab will not be allowed in California, Arizona and Nevada, HHS said, adding that other authorized COVID-19 antibody therapies will remain available in the states.

The U.S. FDA in November granted emergency use authorization to bamlanivimab and a two-antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. Eli Lilly also has a combination therapy of two antibodies, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, which was authorized in February.

Eli Lilly said earlier this week its combination therapy reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 87% in high-risk COVID-19 patients in a study. (https://reut.rs/3vlPyqo)

(Reporting by Amruta Khandekar; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)