FDA clears use of Lilly's COVID-19 antibody therapy for kids

The FDA authorization also allows the administration of the therapy as a preventive measure in children who are exposed to the virus.

 A health worker holds up a vial of Imdevimab, an antibody cocktail designed to produce resistance to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at San Giuseppe Hospital, in Albano, Italy, April 22, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/YARA NARDI)
A health worker holds up a vial of Imdevimab, an antibody cocktail designed to produce resistance to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at San Giuseppe Hospital, in Albano, Italy, April 22, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/YARA NARDI)

The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized the use of Eli Lilly's COVID-19 dual-antibody therapy in treating mild to moderate symptoms in all children, including newborns, who are at risk of severe illness.

The therapy, bamlanivimab plus etesevimab, was previously authorized for children aged 12 years and older and weighed at least 88 pounds.

"Children under one year of age, who are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, may be at particularly high risk for severe COVID-19 and this authorization addresses the medical needs of this vulnerable population," said Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The FDA authorization also allows the administration of the therapy as a preventive measure in children who are exposed to the virus.

 CHILDREN WEAR face masks upon returning to school for the first time since the heartbreak of COVID-19, in May of last year. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) CHILDREN WEAR face masks upon returning to school for the first time since the heartbreak of COVID-19, in May of last year. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The therapy, however, is not a substitute for vaccination, Cavazzoni said.