As Virus Cases Rise, Biden Administration Encourages More Use


WASHINGTON — Faced with overcrowded hospitals across the country and nonstop Delta variant cases, the Biden administration has reiterated its call for healthcare providers to use monoclonal antibody therapies that can help Covid-19 patients who are at risk of getting very sick.

White House adviser on racial equality in health, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith said at a press conference that federal “surge teams” deployed in embattled states are working to increase the uptake and confidence of antibody drugs. He said they have been applied to more than 600,000 people in the United States during the pandemic, preventing hospitalizations and helping save lives. President Donald J. Trump received such treatment when he was diagnosed with Covid-19 last year before it was authorized for emergency use.

In states where vaccination has stopped and cases are increasing, treatments have become an important component of federal strategy to reduce the cost of the worst outbreaks, highlighting how many Americans remain at risk.

The distribution of doses ordered by doctors increased fivefold from June to July. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 75 percent of orders come from areas of the country where vaccination rates are low.

Dr. Nunez-Smith said on Thursday that the administration is “ready to help states and territories and jurisdictions across the country get more people connected to treatments,” but stressed that the vaccine is still the best option for preventing Covid-19. 19.

Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said the Biden administration has recruited more than 500 federal workers to help state health departments and hospitals combat the Delta variant, including emergency health workers and the Centers for Disease Control in Louisiana and Mississippi. He said he was commissioned. and Prevention teams in Tennessee, Illinois, and Missouri.

Dr. Nunez-Smith said the administration has provided virtual training on how to administer drugs for doctors and health system officials in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. In Arizona, federal teams are offering treatment in two areas where none of the Covid-19 patients who received the treatments were subsequently hospitalized.

The treatments that the federal government pays for and gives free to patients mimic the antibodies that the immune system naturally produces to fight the coronavirus. When given to patients soon after symptoms appear, typically by intravenous infusion, it has been shown to sharply reduce hospitalizations and deaths. There is also evidence that they can completely prevent the disease in certain people exposed to the virus. Unlike coronavirus vaccines, which take as long as six weeks to provide full protection, antibody treatments can be given to patients who are already sick with a faster effect.

The most recent data from the Department of Health and Human Services show that, dating back to late last year, less than half of the distributed treatment supply is used by more than 6,000 hospitals and other provider sites. The federal government relies on providers and state health departments to report usage numbers and does not monitor the demographics of patients taking the drugs.

Dr. Shipments to Florida, which is experiencing a devastating increase in virus cases, increased eightfold last month, with more than 108,000 treatment courses shipped nationwide in July, Nunez-Smith said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Thursday. introduced A “rapid response unit” to administer the Regeneron treatment in Jacksonville, the state said, will set up similar sites in other cities.

Interest in monoclonal antibodies has been spotty throughout the pandemic. When they were authorized last year, Regeneron and Eli Lilly’s treatments were expected to be in high demand and serve as a bridge in the fight against the pandemic before vaccines increased. They were ruthlessly promoted by Mr Trump and senior medics in his administration, who described the Regeneron therapy as a “cure”.

Still, they’ve sat on refrigerator shelves in many places, even in recent surges. Many hospitals and clinics did not make treatments a priority when they had to be given via intravenous infusion because of how time-consuming and difficult to administer at the time. Doctors can now administer the most commonly used treatment from Regeneron either subcutaneously or by injection.

A virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Dr. “These are important tools,” said Dan Barouch. showing work He said the company’s antibody therapy could prevent Covid-19 when given to people living with someone infected with the coronavirus. “They showed significant therapeutic effects.”

D., an infectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, the researcher of this study. Rajesh Gandhi said the evidence for the benefit of antibody treatments has only gotten stronger in recent months. He said more needs to be done to educate doctors and patients on how effective they can be.

“Patients need to know to call their doctor and ask about treatments,” he said. “Mild Covid patients in 2020 have been told to stay home. This message needs to evolve into a more proactive one.”

Regeneron has aired a series of television commercials for this year’s treatment.

Nearly all Covid-19 patients who receive monoclonal antibodies during the delta surge receive the type made by Regeneron, one of three authorized by the Food and Drug Administration during the pandemic. Company estimated last week He said his treatment had reached more than a quarter of eligible patients, who were less than 5 percent prior to the pandemic.

FDA last month expanded its emergency mandate So that Regeneron therapy can be used to try to prevent Covid-19 in a small number of high-risk patients. These include people with certain health conditions who are not vaccinated or unable to produce an adequate immune response, have been exposed to the virus, or live in nursing homes or prisons. Like other monoclonal antibody treatments, it was previously only available for high-risk patients who had tested positive for the virus.

federal government in June. Shipments of first authorized monoclonal antibody therapy are paused indefinitely, from Eli Lilly, because new lab data suggested it wouldn’t work well in situations caused by Beta and Gamma variants.

The government has not ordered any third dose of therapy from GlaxoSmithKline and Vir, which has so far been little used. GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson Kathleen Quinn said the treatment is available in healthcare facilities in 26 states and US territories.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *