In Jacksonville and Ocala, Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment sites are seeing hundreds of people receive the therapy and it is proving successful in its early treatment phase.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been pushing for the use of the treatment for COVID patients early in their infection. The design is to receive the monoclonal treatment before serious symptoms kick in.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the treatment for some patients exposed to COVID even if they are asymptomatic.
In Jacksonville, more than 1,700 people have received the treatment. This past Wednesday alone, 293 people received treatment, and the treatment sites say they can facilitate treatments for 300 people daily.
As a result of the treatments, hospitalizations are down from week to week. There were 169 COVID patients at UF Health Jacksonville compared to 201 the week before. However, one UF Health Jacksonville doctor, Dr. Chirag Patel, is cautious about the downward trend.
“I am not taking stock in the downtrend,” Patel said. “Patients are still sick and coming to the hospital.”
Patel cites pediatric and ICU cases are continuing to rise.
“The rate of folks in the intensive care unit with COVID and on ventilators continues to actually go up,” Patel said.
AdventHealth Ocala also saw a positive impact with the treatment back in July.
“So the monoclonal antibody is effective against the Delta, it’s effective against the Alpha which was the original variant,” said Michael Torres, VP and chief medical officer at Advent Health Ocala. “I’m reading now about a Lambda variant that’s beginning to show in other parts of the world. The initial research and study of the monoclonals is that it is also effective in helping people mitigate the effects of the Lambda variant.”
Torres continued by saying the preventative nature of the treatment can be beneficial to keep patients from suffering from residual effects due to COVID infection.
“It is clearly a disease course altering treatment,” Torres said. “People that have had significant COVID infection are being left with scarred bodies, scared brains, scared lungs. The folks that get the monoclonal, high and far don’t suffer any of that type of residual body function, bodily decrease function, so I just think it’s a God-send.”
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “New Eastview office building” by Jim henderson. CC0 1.0.