Most monoclonal antibody treatments fail against omicron, other in short supply

Two of the three monoclonal antibody treatments used to prevent COVID-19 patients from becoming severely sick don't appear to be effective against the omicron coronavirus variant, The New York Times reported Dec. 21. 

In general, monoclonal antibody treatments have been found to be highly effective in preventing high-risk patients from being hospitalized. 

Recently, hospital administrators at NewYork-Presbyterian, NYU Langone and Mount Sinai, all based in New York City, said they would stop administering Eli Lilly and Regeneron treatments, the two most frequently used antibody treatments, according to internal memos obtained by the Times.

At the end of the week, federal health officials are set to review whether Eli Lilly and Regeneron shipments should be paused in different areas based on how dominant omicron becomes, according to a senior administration official who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity. For the week ending Dec. 18, the variant accounted for 73 percent of new cases nationwide, according to the CDC, up from about 12 percent the week prior.

Sotrovimab, made by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology, is the only monoclonal antibody treatment that has performed well against omicron in lab experiments. Receiving FDA emergency use authorization in May, the drug's supply is currently extremely limited, though the White House is in talks with GlaxoSmithKline about securing more doses by early 2022, according to the Times.

When omicron began spreading in the U.S., the government allocated 55,000 sotrovimab doses nationwide, with shipments arriving as soon as this week. GSK is set to deliver 300,000 more doses in January.

Kathleen Quinn, spokesperson for GSK, told the Times that the companies are actively working to expand capacity and accelerate production plans.


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