FDA stops the use of two monoclonal antibody treatments, Phoebe officials respond

Phoebe administers Monoclonal Antibody Treatments
Phoebe administers Monoclonal Antibody Treatments(Phoebe Putney Medical Center)
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 11:12 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 11:16 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The FDA announced changes to the monoclonal antibody treatment distribution. They are now only distributing one form of the treatment.

Due to the outbreak of the omicron variant, the FDA saw that only one of the three versions of the monoclonal treatment was helping patients recover from the virus.

WALB’s Nathalie Moreau spoke with medical professionals from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. Dr. Dianna Grant says the monoclonal treatment helps COVID patients.

“Monoclonal antibody treatment is just simply a protein that we are giving to you to fight the virus and to help your immune system fight against the virus,” said Dr. Dianna Grant, System Chief Medical Officer at Phoebe.

Dr. Grant further explains how the treatment help fights the virus.

Dr. Dianna Grant – System Chief Medical Officer for the Phoebe Putney Health System
Dr. Dianna Grant – System Chief Medical Officer for the Phoebe Putney Health System(WALB)

“It sees the virus it’s developing that capsule around it with the correct protein to try to stop the virus from invading the cells and doing more harm,” said Grant.

The FDA recently announced that hospitals should stop using two versions of the monoclonal medication, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, which are administered together, and REGEN-COV because of their inability to fight the omicron variant. Now, only one medication is being approved to be used.

“Sotrovimab came on the market, and it appears to be more selective for this omicron variant,” said Grant.

The other medications were effective but only on past variants which is why people may have contracted COVID-19 more than once.

“You know I can really tell you of cases where people were infected in October of 2020. They got infected again in September and even after this Christmas rush someone came into their house, third time,” said Grant.

There is a shortage of treatment which is why there it’s only currently eligible for certain people.

Phoebe administers Monoclonal Antibody Treatments
Phoebe administers Monoclonal Antibody Treatments(Phoebe Putney Medical Center)

“65 and above 75 and above with pro morbidity. We’ve established tier levels that you would meet to get the vaccine once you tested positive,” said Grant.

Dr. Grant stresses three things to help keep us safe during this pandemic. Wear your mask, social distance yourself, and continue to wash your hands.

“Empower yourself with what you can control,” said Grant.

The FDA also authorized the use of the first oral antiviral pill against COVID-19 last month. Now some may be wondering how to get this pill.

It is available over the counter but not at your local hospitals. Dr. Grant told us the government has only distributed the treatment to select pharmacies across the country.

“But there is a third option now that we didn’t have even before is the antiviral PO medicine that you can get from the pharmacist. You can go to Georgia.gov. It has a map of availability for the oral viral that is in place.”

Now one of the pharmacies Dr. Grant mentioned was Walmart in East Albany, 262 Cordele Road, but be mindful that the oral medication is in high demand, and low amounts are being sent out at the moment.

You can call (229) 312-MYMD to see if you qualify for the treatment.

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