[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
Editor: The nation is celebrating the development of vaccines to protect against COVID-19. While some who contract the virus will not suffer serious consequences, those with risk factors should be aware of the miraculous therapies that are now available.
When President Trump was hospitalized with the virus, he was given two antibody drugs known as “monoclonal antibody therapy.” Developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., it is the first confirmed in its antiviral effects on COVID-19. The president obtained the promise of Regeneron to provide 300,000 doses at no cost to patients.
On Nov. 21, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an “emergency-use authorization” for Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapy, which has resulted in some doctors refusing to prescribe it. (All of the relevant information on Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the FDA authorization can be found on their Websites.)
My family doctor refused to treat the disease from the outset, recommending an emergency room. But my cardiologist saw the Regeneron cocktail successfully used on a patient who contracted the virus while waiting for a heart transplant, and said he would oversee its use for me if I contracted the virus.
When my son, whose asthma puts him in a high-risk category, contracted the virus, his doctor refused to prescribe the Regeneron therapy, calling it “experimental.” At the hospital, however, the antibody therapy was administered immediately. Within 48 hours, his symptoms had subsided and a crisis was averted.
Despite its effectiveness, the antibody therapy remains nearly unknown to the general population. As a result, the monoclonal antibody drugs shipped across the country have not been used as frequently as needed.
People must find out where to obtain this therapy before they test positive for COVID. If the virus strikes, you have only a few days to begin the antibody treatment.
Michael Balzano, McLean