Florida doctor says antibody treatments ineffective against omicron

Doctor says monoclonal antibody treatment Regeneron likely only prevented 1 hospitalization for every 2,500 patients who received it

ORLANDO, Fla. – AdventHealth in Orlando continues to offer a preventative monoclonal antibody treatment for people who’ve been exposed and have not tested positive for the coronavirus. The treatment is aimed to help high-risk individuals reduce their chance of contracting the virus.

Most monoclonal antibody treatments have been banned in the United States.

Dr. Kartik Cherabuddi is an associate professor and Epidemiologist for UF Health. Cherabuddi said the treatments were not effective on people with the Omicron variant.

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“The honest truth, it’s being removed because it doesn’t work,” Cherabuddi said.

Cherabuddi said the monoclonal antibody treatment Regeneron likely only prevented one hospitalization for every 2,500 patients who received it.

“Even for folks who may have gotten it maybe yesterday, it probably didn’t do much at all,” Cherabuddi said.

The Florida Department of Health is offering a map on its website, showing where people can receive an oral antiviral pill for COVID-19. Cherabuddi said those pills are in short supply, so people unvaccinated and high risk are put to the top of the list to receive them.

“I’m telling you the options are very few right now. We might have more options in the next week to two weeks, but right now just the strain of trying to see what to take and where to get it from, is just too hard,” Cherabuddi said.

FDOH’s map shows only a couple of locations in Central Florida offering oral antiviral treatment. One site is in Daytona Beach Shores and the other site is inWinter Haven.

Cherabuddi said anyone who is not vaccinated or has yet to receive a booster, should consider the vaccine as their best option.

“They are much more effective in preventing severe disease. It’s like an insurance policy. Rather than try to fix things once things go wrong,” Cherabuddi said.

Cherabuddi said it’s possible Regeneron and other monoclonal antibody treatments become available if they are proved effective against variants that may develop in the future.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.