COVID antibody treatment facing supply shortage

6 months 3 days 23 hours ago Tuesday, December 28 2021 Dec 28, 2021 December 28, 2021 9:11 AM December 28, 2021 in News - Coronavirus Pandemic

The state of Texas is warning that several major cities have run out of the antibody treatment sotrovimab at regional infusion centers.

The antibody treatment is known to be effective against the new omicron strain.

In the Valley, the treatment is in short supply.

"Every time someone's positive, we can't tell what strain it is,” said Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez. “Now it's becoming extremely important to know what strain. Why? Because sotrovimab is the monoclonal antibody that has been identified as one of the very few monoclonal antibodies that are able to disrupt the omicron virus."

Before, when the original COVID-19 and delta strains were at their peaks, a number of antibody therapies worked, and gave rise to the local infusion centers. But that’s now changing with the omicron variant.

"The previous monoclonal antibodies that we've been using in most infusion centers no longer work for this particular mutation,” Dr. Melendez said. “So this particular monoclonal antibody has been preordered. We expect on January 4th for the federal government to make it available to the state government, which in turn will distribute to the county health departments, and the other infusion centers."

The treatment has been purchased on the federal level from the manufacturer of sotrovimab.

As conditions change, Dr. Melendez says it's still important to talk to your doctor about those earlier antibody therapies. While doctors suspect omicron accounts for the majority of cases now, there may still be people sick with earlier strains that can benefit from older antibody therapies.

"That's what we want to do is to encourage people to go, and to give hope that in January that we're going to have one that's going to kill this particular variant," Dr. Melendez said.

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