The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Feb 10. it will acquire 600,000 treatment courses of bebtelovimab, a new monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment that data shows works against the Omicron variant. The new mAB treatment is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company, and if it receives emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, HHS will make the treatment available to states free of charge.
HHS would receive approximately 300,000 treatment courses of this monoclonal antibody in February and approximately 300,000 treatment courses in March. Recently, it was determined that data shows that two monoclonal antibody treatments – one made by Lilly (bamlanivimab/etesevimab), and one made by Regeneron (REGEN-COV) – are highly unlikely to work against Omicron, which currently is estimated to make up about 100 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Early data suggests that this new product by Lilly has activity against both Omicron and the BA.2 Omicron subvariant.
“If authorized by FDA, this purchase will add an additional 600,000 courses of treatment to our nation’s ‘medicine cabinet’ that could help prevent severe outcomes for Americans who do get sick with COVID-19.,” noted HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Our top priority is preventing people from getting sick in the first place, which is why it is critical that Americans continue to get vaccinated and get their booster shot as soon as they’re eligible.”
The contract also includes a future option for 500,000 more doses and was awarded as a result of collaboration between the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND).