A new drug which could stop people getting Covid has reportedly been shown to protect 80 per cent of care home residents from infection during trials.

In the study of care home staff and residents scientists infused them with artificial antibodies in a bid to provide a temporary boost to immunity to coronavirus, The Times reports.

The pharmaceutical company behind the trials of the drug, Eli Lilly, were reported to have said the drug could be used quickly for people who were not yet vaccinated.

Janelle Sabo, at the company told the newspaper: “Because neutralising antibodies are immediate, they don’t require that your immune system mounts a response.

"In fact it allows your immune system to slowly mount a response and kind of augment it.

The pharmaceutical company behind the trials of the drug, Eli Lilly

“And so from that standpoint it can be used very quickly during an outbreak for those who are not vaccinated or . . . not fully vaccinated.”

The trial reportedly involved 965 people enlisted from care homes which had experienced outbreaks, and half of these were given a placebo.

Reports say that after eight weeks those who had received the drug also saw a 57 per cent reduction in infections that had symptoms.

When the researchers only included those who would have been more strongly exposed the reduction was said to have been 80 per cent.

Last month it was reported that experts at the University College London Hospitals NHS Trust were also looking at testing an antibody which could provide long-term protection to patients when it is too late to offer a vaccine.

That trial, which has been dubbed Storm Chaser, involves an antibody which could be given as treatment to care home residents, hospital patients and students in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.