US resumes shipping antibody treatments that may be ineffective against omicron

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The federal government has resumed shipping all three COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments to systems across the U.S. despite evidence two of the three may be ineffective in treating omicron, The Washington Post reported Jan. 9. 

The Post reported some experts and physicians are worried the infusion services will be "useless" against omicron while others are relieved to have access to treatments again. 

Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, director of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the Post the current situation is a "transition period," leaving many patients confused. Dr. Marrazzo said most hospitals lack the capacity to do real-time sequencing to determine how to treat individual patients who may be infected with different variants.

Health systems across the country have been reporting shortages of the treatments since mid-December, after initial, limited shipments were paused, with some facilities suspending administration altogether until supplies replenished. 

The New York Times reported Dec. 21 two of the three monoclonal antibody treatments don't appear to be effective against the omicron variant. Preliminary data from GlaxoSmithKline, the producer of sotrovimab, shows the variant only slightly weakens the treatment's effectiveness.

 

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