WASHINGTON— U.S. health officials have authorized Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 treatment for a new use in preventing disease in people who have been recently exposed to the virus.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday granted emergency use of the drug for adults and children older than 12 who may have an infection and are at high-risk for getting severe COVID-19. Previously the drug was authorized for high-risk patients with confirmed COVID-19.
Earlier this summer the FDA authorized preventative use for a similar antibody drug from competitor Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
Antibody drugs are one of the only treatments proven to reduce the risk of death from COVID-19, especially for people who are not yet in the hospital. Demand for the drugs has boomed as the delta variant sends cases surging again across the U.S.
Federal officials have reported a 20-fold increase in orders for the drugs since mid-July.