Fauci to hospitals: Use more antibody treatments
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Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging hospitals and doctors to make greater use of antibody treatments for people infected with COVID-19 as hospitalizations and deaths rise due to the spread of the delta variant.
Infusions of antibody drugs can keep patients who are experiencing mild-to-moderate symptoms from getting so sick they need hospitalization, the government’s top infectious disease specialist said at Tuesday’s White House coronavirus briefing. They also can serve as a preventive treatment for people exposed to someone with a documented infection.
Three antibody products are available under emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, and they’re free thanks to taxpayer support. But Fauci says they remain "a much-underutilized intervention."
"Trials have demonstrated that early treatment with anti SARS-COVi-2 monoclonal antibodies can reduce the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or death by 70 to 85%. It is important to emphasize that this must be done early in infection and not wait, of course, until a person is sick enough to be hospitalized. That’s when you get the best effect. And again, being an underutilized intervention, we want people out there, including physicians, as well as potential patients, to realize the advantage of this very effective way of treating early infection," Fauci said.
However, demand for the drugs increased five-fold last month to nearly 110,000 doses, with the majority going to states with low vaccination rates. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has been among the patients treated with antibodies.