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Federal government purchases 600,000 doses of Lilly’s antibody treatment designed to neutralize omicron

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly and Company’s new COVID-19 antibody treatment, bebtelovimab, on Friday. 

The infusion is designed specifically to treat the omicron variant. News 8 spoke with Dr. Mark Williams, senior medical director at Lilly, who says the antibodies were generated from a COVID-19 survivor. He also explains how it targets the mutation.

“When you put it into the IV, which is just a small temporary IV, it makes its way into the air sacs of the lungs and then it attaches to what we call the spike protein of the virus,” Williams said. “This virus has a lot of spikes on its exterior surface, so this antibody binds to those spikes and blocks its entry into the lung cell.”  

By blocking entry into the lung cells, the virus has less opportunity to replicate.

Williams also says the injection is quick and painless, taking just 30 seconds. 

The federal government has already purchased 600,000 doses of the treatment.