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Floridian adopts COVID-19 antibody therapy

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People aren’t the only ones who haven’t been vaccinated using Florida’s 25 monoclonal antibody therapy clinics, according to Florida officials.

State officials estimate that approximately 45 percent of the more than 135,000 people treated with COVID-19 have been fully vaccinated. In some high-immunization states, such as Miami-Dade County, the rate can reach as high as 60%.

But do people who have been vaccinated with breakthrough cases and mild symptoms need to be treated with monoclonal antibodies? The question of who should be prioritized is controversial in the medical community. Expensive drug cocktails are free for patients, but taxpayers cost about $ 2,100 per dose.

Michael Ten, a virologist at the University of South Florida, says patients need to consult a doctor, but fully vaccinated and healthy people develop a breakthrough case of COVID-19. , There are not many benefits to receiving treatment.

People can still get sick, but he said the COVID-19 vaccine is very effective in protecting against serious illness and hospitalization.

“Monclonal antibodies do not intend to add too much to their protection,” Teng said. “If you’re in a really high-risk group and it’s been a while since you’ve been vaccinated twice, it might be a discussion with your doctor, but generally speaking, you do so much. I’m not going. For a normal and healthy person. “

The treatment saves the lives of people at risk who are not vaccinated and reduces the chances of hospitalization by as much as 70%, Teng said. People who are vaccinated but have a condition that affects the immune system, such as during cancer treatment, will also benefit significantly, he said.

Dr. Michael Cacciatore, Chief Medical Officer of the Advent Health Medical Group, said he recommends that all qualified people be treated, regardless of vaccination status. Thousands of patients were treated through the hospital system without a single major allergic reaction, he said.

“Even if you have COVID, are symptomatic, have mild and other serious comorbidities, I really think hard about getting that antibody injection,” said Cacciatore.

Under the Emergency Use Authorization of the drug, people over the age of 12 who are at high risk of serious illness are eligible for treatment if they are infected or exposed to COVID-19. Risk factors include age 65 and older, cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and pregnancy. People who are overweight are also eligible.

Patients seeking treatment do not have to wait for their symptoms to worsen. Cocktails are most effective when given early in the infection. Also, it’s not as easy as taking a pill. Intravenous drip or 4 consecutive injections are required.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the ability of the immune system to fight viruses.

State clinics have primarily offered Regeneron antibody cocktails, which the federal government purchases in bulk and offers to patients free of charge. The first state clinic opened on August 12th in Jacksonville.

Governor Ron DeSantis expressed concern about the supply cap set by President Joe Biden’s administration as the Delta variant surged in demand. Supply declines did not lead to a shortage in Florida, as incidents are currently declining, state officials said.

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushau said in an email that the clinic had enough doses to meet demand and state officials continued to open the clinic to all qualified people.

“Of the many vaccinated patients who came to the Florida mAb site for treatment, all have proven to have one or more comorbidities at high risk of complications from COVID-19. Many are elderly, immunocompromised, and / or overweight, “she said.

The Florida Department of Health has not released detailed data on monoclonal antibody therapy programs.

With automatic transfers from the State Surgeon President, Floridian does not require a doctor’s prescription to receive treatment. Clinics operate primarily in honor systems, as state officials “did not want to create barriers to access that might discourage patients in need of this life-saving treatment.”

State officials have emphasized that the numbers do not mean that the vaccine is not working. For example, unvaccinated people make up about 10% of Miami-Dade’s population, but 40% of Miami-Dade patients.

At the peak of the delta surge, hospital officials emphasized that more than 90% of COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated. Fully vaccinated people rarely die of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 6,617 groundbreaking COVID-19 deaths.

In the absence of antibody therapy, the National Institutes of Health reports to people (65 years old and older) who are fully vaccinated but are not expected to initiate a sufficient immune response.

Due to supply concerns, Tennessee has restricted drugs to those at greatest risk of death, prioritizing unvaccinated people over non-immunerated vaccinated people.

-Orlando Sentinel

Antibody cocktails are safe, but like any other drug or medical procedure, they are not without risk, Teng said. Although it is very rare, infusions can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. Other reported side effects include fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, myalgia and headache.

“This is an injection,” Teng said. “This is not comfortable. There is a lot of liquid under the skin or waiting for IV to be infused. It’s not like taking aspirin, things go away. It’s a procedure. is.”

Patients can quickly have another option that does not require an IV injection. The Food and Drug Administration is considering anti-COVID pills manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Merck.

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