Why Aren't Hospitals Using Monoclonal Antibodies as an Emergency Treatment for COVID?

Marilyn Regan

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When former President Trump tested positive for COVID he was treated with this, and a few other drugs, and recovered quickly.

Why? Was it some “special” treatment for the rich and privileged?

To a certain extent, yes, but not exactly.

He wasn’t treated with anything new that isn’t available or has never been used before. The former president was treated with a combination of several things, eight to be exact, most notably monoclonal antibodies.

The FDA approved the use of monoclonal antibodies for treatment under an Emergency Use Order (EUO), the same as the vaccines. In other words, it is not an approved treatment, but use is allowed in dire situations such as a pandemic.

And obviously, it works.

The Presidential Treatment

Trump received the following.

1/ Dexamethasone — a steroid treatment for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain cancers. A study released in June showed it reduced death by one-third in patients who were sick for more than a week and who were on ventilators.

2/ Remdesivir — administered intravenously, it targets COVID’s replication system. It has been used to treat the Ebola virus but has not officially been approved.

3/ Regeneron's Monoclonal Antibodies — a combination or “cocktail” of casirivimab and imdevimab, aka REGN-COV2. It is available in Europe. It causes a decrease in the virus level and works best on patients who do not create a high level of their own antibodies.

4/ Zinc — boosts the immune system.

5/ Vit. D — for Trump’s bone health.

6 / Famotidine — generic form of Pepcid used to treat ulcers, reduces stomach acid.

7/ Melatonin — treats insomnia. May help patients with diabetes and obesity. And yes, at 244 lbs., Trump is obese.

8/ Aspirin - to reduce blood clots.

Some types of monoclonal antibodies can be used to treat HIV.

Bamlanivimab and estesevimab is another monoclonal antibody cocktail that has effectively treated COVID.

However, the federal government suspended the use of bamlanivimab due to COVID virus variants.

What are monoclonal antibodies?

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules made by cloning unique white blood cells. They are proteins based on natural antibodies your body already produces to fight off disease and invaders.

Those used to target COVID are manufactured to specifically target the SARS CoV-2 virus to prevent it from entering cells.

They are not drugs.

Scientists remove antibodies from human blood and replicate them, then manufacture large quantities. It is a complex and expensive process.

More than 400k patient doses of these antibodies have been ordered in the United States from Regeneron and Eli Lilly, and 250k have been delivered.

But despite this, hospitals have not been using them.

Why aren’t they being used?

NIH guidelines state that “there is insufficient data to recommend for or against and (monoclonal antibody treatment) should not be considered the standard.”

However, despite this, it is exactly what President Trump requested from Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer, MD, Ph.D., a friend. The FDA cleared his request.

And the treatment worked. Obviously.

It is not easy to administer, taking over an hour. Patients then need to be monitored for an additional hour following treatment. This means two hours in an outpatient clinic which requires a lot of coordination and may be the reason for its lack of use.

Hospitals may have insufficient resources and staff to administer the treatment as mandated.

Under dire circumstances, when other treatments have been exhausted, companies can grant “compassionate use” of their experimental treatments.

Considering an alternative treatment is available and the number of deaths, you have to wonder why this treatment remains so underutilized.

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Marilyn is a writer, yogi, spiritual medium and animal lover. She is a Bostonian in every sense and has the accent to prove it. She loves the ocean, the outdoors, wine, and sleeping in. She days what she means and doesn't waste words. Finally, she is mother to one son, two cats and has three grandchildren.

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