Local health official reacts to covid antibody treatment shortage

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 5:12 PM EST
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FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - There’s a nationwide shortage of antibody treatments that state health officials are expecting to get worse with the spread of the latest variant.

The Marion County Health Department is raising concerns with the short supply of antibody covid treatments.

“When we look at treatment, the monoclonal antibodies is one of the most effective treatments that we have for covid. However, we are experiencing a shortage,” said Lloyd White, administrator for the Marion County Health Department

Antibody treatments are given in the early stage of covid and can be effective in keeping less serious cases from clogging an already covid challenged hospital system.

That does concern me greatly because we know that it works and it works to keep you out of the hospital, off the ventilator and prevent,” said White.

Officials say the reason for the shortage is two-fold. White says the shortage is because of demand.

But Retired Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, who has worked with the state through the covid-19 pandemic, says studies show the antibody treatments have significantly decreased efficacy” against the latest covid variant.

“We’ve now found that the regeneron antibody treatment may not be effective for the new variant,” said Hoyer.

But with the drain on supply, White says unfortunately, there will be more loss of life that could be prevented.

“So now, we are essentially decreasing the availability of the antibodies which, in my opinion, will certainly lead to more hospitalizations and more deaths,” said White.

While the health department does not have the capacity to administer the treatment, White says we have to focus on what has been done throughout the pandemic.

“And I still think it’s critically important to get vaccinated, to wear a mask, good cough and sneeze etiquette, hand hygiene, things that we know work; if we can prevent, then we won’t even need the antibodies.”

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