Nation and world news briefs

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US-run clinical trial of Eli Lilly antibody therapy to end

Eli Lilly & Co. said a clinical trial of its experimental antibody therapy in hospitalized COVID-19 patients will end, after the U.S. government-run study was paused earlier this month.

The company said in a statement that the decision was based on data suggesting the treatment is unlikely to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients recover from the advanced stage of their disease.

On Oct. 14, the Indianapolis drug giant said enrollment had been paused in the so-called ACTIV-3 trial of its neutralizing monoclonal antibody treatment sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The NIH said in a statement on Monday that Lilly’s drug is likely to be ineffective in treating hospitalized patients.

The announcement is an indication that monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 may only work if given early in the course of a coronavirus infection, before the virus has had a chance to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause serious damage. In the study, a very high dose of Lilly’s antibody was used, yet there was no indication that it was effective.

Earlier in October, the trial’s data-safety monitors recommend the pause, but didn’t recommend pausing another government-run trial, known as ACTIV-2. That trial is continuing, Lilly said, and company-sponsored studies of the antibody therapy also continued unaffected.

ACTIV-3 was testing a high-dose version of the antibody treatment Lilly is developing with Canadian biotech AbCellera Biologics Inc. in combination with the antiviral drug remdesivir. The study had already enrolled 326 participants who were hospitalized with COVID-19.

Eli Lilly is seeking emergency authorization to treat coronavirus patients with the antibody outside of the hospital. In contrast to the hospital trial results, a trial in this group of patients has produced promising results in September.

—Bloomberg News


Melania Trump to hit the 2020 campaign trail

With early voting already underway and eight days until the Nov. 3 election, first lady Melania Trump plans to make her first solo campaign stop Tuesday.

The first lady, who has not been on the trail with her husband since he announced his reelection bid in June 2019, will support the president’s campaign effort with a stop in Atglen, Pennsylvania.

She’d planned to join the president at an Oct. 20 rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, but canceled that appearance on account of lingering effects of a COVID-19 infection that was announced at the start of the month. The first lady did attend the presidential debate later in the week, wearing a mask.

The first lady’s long-awaited appearance will take place at an event moderated by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, who stepped down from her position as a White House counselor at the start of September.

Her 15-year-old daughter had claimed on social media that she was seeking emancipation from her parents on account of Conway’s work with President Donald Trump.

Like the president and first lady, Conway announced on Oct. 2 that she’d tested positive for COVID-19. Both women attended events where masks were not worn and social distancing guidelines were not observed prior to their illnesses.

Conway expressed her support for the first lady last week.

“Four More Years of Melania, Too,” she tweeted.

—New York Daily News


Virginia man arrested after body found in trunk of car that crashed in Florida

MIAMI — Troopers stopped to help a Virginia man who had gotten into a traffic crash Sunday afternoon on the Palmetto Expressway near Miami Lakes. A foul odor wafted from the trunk. Inside was the body of a hip-hop artist who went missing over a week ago.

Monday afternoon Miami-Dade police detectives arrested the man they believe shot and killed Brian Trotter, 25, who disappeared from Triangle, Virginia, on Oct. 17. Robert Deupree Avery Coltrain, 25, has been charged with second-degree murder and illegal transport of human remains.

Coltrain was booked into a Miami-Dade jail Monday afternoon.

According to missing-persons reports posted on social media, Trotter disappeared after leaving with someone in a silver Acura in Triangle, a town about 30 miles outside Washington, D.C. For days, friends posted missing-persons reports urging help to find Trotter, whose hip-hop name was “Kent Won’t Stop.”

Then on Sunday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol was dispatched to a crash on the Palmetto near Northwest 154th Street. The car was a silver Acura and had been driving north when it got into the accident on the rain-soaked highway.

The Acura was towed to the parking lot of Hialeah’s Westland Mall, where troopers found the body. An initial autopsy revealed Trotter had been shot to death.

At police headquarters, Coltrain refused to speak to Miami-Dade homicide detectives, who took over the investigation, according to multiple law enforcement sources. But Coltrain was allowed to call Trotter’s sister — and as detectives listened in, he apologized and said the death happened in Virginia, sources said.

Because the body was found in Miami-Dade County, the case can still be prosecuted in Florida under state law.

Inside the car, investigators discovered the Glock .45-caliber pistol believed to have been used to kill the man. Detectives are still trying to determine a motive for the man’s killing.

—Miami Herald


Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush considers run for attorney general

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is weighing a bid for attorney general, as the Republican currently in the job, Ken Paxton, faces new criminal accusations.

Several campaign donors have asked Bush to consider running in 2022, senior political adviser Ash Wright said. The Republican has not made a decision.

“Commissioner Bush has always said he will ‘keep all options open’ and that remains his policy,” Wright said in a statement. “Like many conservative leaders around the state, he is very concerned about these allegations regarding Paxton.”

Bush’s intentions were first reported on the conservative website Texas Scorecard.

If he does jump in, Bush will face a fight. Paxton is “absolutely planning on running again, is looking forward to winning a third term, and is never going to stop fighting for the people of Texas,” his campaign spokesman, Ian Prior, said Monday.

Paxton, now in his second term, is accused by senior staff of serious crimes related to his relationship with real estate developer and campaign donor Nate Paul. Seven of the agency’s most senior employees recently reported Paxton to law enforcement, after they said he used the office to intervene in Paul’s legal affairs several times within the last year.

Paxton denies wrongdoing and has instead pointed the finger back at staff he calls “rogue.” Since they raised concerns, six of the seven employees have resigned or been fired or placed on investigative leave.

Bush, the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is the only member of the dynasty currently in elected office. He won his first term as land commissioner in 2014 and was reelected in 2018, after beating back a challenge from a fellow Republican. Bush was one of the highest performing Republican statewide candidates that year, earning more votes than Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

—The Dallas Morning News