Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis demanded between 30,000 and 40,000 doses of Covid-19 monoclonal antibody treatment Monday despite research showing that the only abundantly available treatments are ineffective against the omicron variant, which is surging in Florida.
DeSantis asked the government to reverse its pause on distributing antibody treatments manufactured by Regeneron and Eli Lilly, a decision undertaken after research showed that the treatments were ineffective against the omicron variant.
DeSantis claimed that Regeneron and Eli Lilly’s treatments had proven effective against the variant in Florida and dismissed the federal government’s decision as “based off some preliminary study,” a claim contradicted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by Regeneron.
If given the additional doses, Desantis said Florida would be able to open five or 10 more antibody treatment sites to meet demand, supplementing the governor’s efforts to keep open treatment sites reportedly burdened by case spikes.
In Oklahoma, immunocompromised patients opted to isolate themselves at home in order to avoid Covid-19 infection as the state waited to receive 576 doses of AstraZeneca’s antibody treatment, which has been proven effective against omicron, KFOR-TV reported.
In New York, some hospitals reported running out of GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology’s omicron-effective antibody treatment December 21, and some Texas hospitals said they expected to run out by January 16.
Monoclonal antibody treatments lower the risk of serious symptoms or hospitalization among high-risk patients. Treatments by Regeneron and Eli Lilly were effective against previous variants of the coronavirus, but were unable to attach to the omicron variant due to mutations in the virus’s structure, Prevention reported. This prompted the federal government to pause distributing those treatments to the states until more data emerges. Additional doses of GlaxoSmithKline’s omicron-effective treatment will be delivered to states this week, according to a release by the Department of Health and Human Services. Omicron accounts for 78.3% of cases in the region including Florida compared to 58.6% in the U.S. overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
DeSantis was criticized by Florida Democrats in December for appearing to take time off during a record-breaking Covid-19 spike. A spokesperson for DeSantis told Fox News that the governor was accompanying his wife Casey to breast cancer treatment on one of the days critics alleged he was “missing in action.”
“Some New York Hospitals Reportedly Run Out Of Vital Omicron Variant Treatment” (Forbes)
“U.S. Pauses Distribution Of Monoclonal Antibody Treatments That Proved Ineffective Against Omicron” (Forbes)