UPDATE 1-Eli Lilly testing COVID-19 antibody treatment with Vir Biotech's drug

(Adds trial details, background)

Jan 27 (Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co is testing its COVID-19 antibody therapy in combination with another treatment by Vir Biotechnology Inc and its partner GlaxoSmithKline , in an effort to combat new variants of the coronavirus.

The companies said on Wednesday that the collaboration marks the first time monoclonal antibodies from separate companies will be tested together.

A study based on laboratory tests showed COVID-19 antibody drugs made by Eli Lilly may be less effective against a new coronavirus variant found in South Africa.

“Adding VIR-7831 to our study is an important part of our commitment to develop therapies to treat current and future strains of COVID-19 until vaccines are widely available and utilized,” Eli Lilly’s Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Skovronsky said.

Lilly said on Tuesday it will move a new COVID-19 antibody therapy to human trials targeting the coronavirus variant that was first found in South Africa. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)