Governor DeSantis urges federal agencies to send 40,000 additional doses of monoclonal antibody treatment to Florida – CBS Miami
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As Omicron variants rise across the state and the number of COVID-19 cases increases, Governor Ron DeSantis has urged the federal government to send thousands of additional doses of monoclonal antibody treatment.
During a press conference on Monday with General Surgeon Dr. Joseph Ladapo at Broward Health Medical Center told DeSantis they were concerned when the federal government pulled supplies.
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âThe federal government had stopped sending both Regeneron and the monoclonal Eli Lilly. That was based on a preliminary study that said it might not be as effective against Omicron. But of course Omicron is not the only variant that is available. And it’s something that we’ve actually seen in Omicron patients, and we’ve seen the symptoms wear off. So it’s not clear that this won’t be an advantage, it may not be as good as it was against Delta. Of course we want this to be here so that patients can do this, âhe said.
DeSantis said his government and Dr. Ladapo had pushed back and the federal government changed its position.
âYesterday, HHS decided to reverse course and they will be sending these treatments. I think this is the right thing to do. We have now passed the point where we can get it direct from one of these companies, the federal government cornered the entire market, they practically took control of the supply in September. We had a deal with GlaxoSmithKline about sotrovimab, which many people think is the most effective against Omicron. That is no longer possible because the federal authorities have reached an exclusive agreement, âhe said.
The governor noted that Omicron appears to be far less pathogenic than the Delta variant, but it is spreading faster. He said with Omicron that vaccines don’t prevent infection.
âMiami Dade, for example, is one of the most vaccinated places in the country, if not the world, and they had huge, huge Omicron infections. And that’s just the reality, so this thing is spreading very, very quickly. There is evidence and some studies from South Africa that Omicron infection can induce immunity to the Delta variant. And that’s important because we believe that in Florida, especially in South Florida, Omicron infections are prevalent, but Delta is still there, âDeSantis said.
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He said most people who get really seriously ill are still infected with the Delta variant.
âIt’s important to understand that and to be able to develop a strategy that will deal with both. So we can say today that we have cleared the way with the Regeneron. Now that we have cleared the way with Bamlanivimab and of course we want more and more from Sotrovimab, we have the opportunity and we will activate further locations immediately, âsaid DeSantis.
The governor said that if the federal government delivers supplies to the state, they will open an additional monoclonal antibody treatment center in Broward County, Miami Dade County, Palm Beach County, and central Florida.
âWe have the ability to add five to ten more locations as needed, but that all depends on the federal government sending out the cans we need. We are probably looking at between 30,000 and 40,000 additional doses, this is very easily used. We have set up the infrastructure. After building our sites over the summer and the demand subsided, we were able to effectively mobilize them in every community, âDeSantis said.
He said in some places hospitals would take the lead in delivering treatments, in others it would be the locations.
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It’s just a matter of the federal government giving us more doses so we can give them to the Floridians who need them. So that will make a positive difference. We also had the foresight to ask the legislature in October to put money aside so that we can cope and there are no problems with buying our own needs. I don’t think we have the option to do this in view of the federal government’s exclusive agreement, but if they were willing to sell it we have the option to buy it ourselves, âDeSantis said.