U.S. health regulators paused Eli Lilly’s coronavirus treatment trials, but experts aren’t worried

Federal health regulators paused enrollment in trials of Eli Lilly’s coronavirus antibody treatment on Tuesday “out of an abundance of caution.”

Officials did not explain why the pause was recommended, but a spokesperson for the company indicated it was “supportive of the decision” by an independent data safety monitoring board. Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious diseases expert at Emory University School of Medicine, told NBC News that “pauses are not infrequent in a clinical trial,” especially one as “truncated” as the COVID-19 treatment development process.

The decision comes after Johnson & Johnson announced Monday night it paused its coronavirus vaccine trial. One of its volunteers came down with an “unexplained illness,” though it’s unclear if that illness had anything to do with the vaccine.

Last week, Eli Lilly said it would soon request emergency authorization for another antibody treatment it had developed. The treatment paused Tuesday was determined to reduce patients’ COVID-19 viral load and help them avoid hospitalization. It’s similar to the treatment from Regeneron given to President Trump.

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