TULSA, Okla. — The State of Oklahoma could deplete its stock of monoclonal antibodies before the month is over, says Oklahoma’s top health official.
The state’s supply of drugs that boosts an immune system response with artificial blood cells to better fight the virus is being impacted by multiple things happening at the same time. Out of the three readily available monoclonal antibody types that have been in use through much of the pandemic, only one of those brands is able to work against the Omicron variant (Sotrovimab). With Omicron being the primary strain moving through the U.S. right now, all states are competing for any stock of Sotrovimab that is available or that comes off the assembly line. That stock is controlled by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and it is distributed out to states based on infection levels.
“Oklahoma’s recent allocation of antibodies has been insufficient to ensure adequate supply moving forward,” Oklahoma Interim Health Commissioner Keith Reed said.
Reed said Oklahoma is receiving no more than 600 doses per shipment, and that is nowhere near enough to keep up with demand.
“As it stands now, the current supply in the state along with the next cycle of expected deliveries are anticipated to be depleted this month,” he said.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health is still sending out monoclonal antibodies to certain health care providers in every area of the state, but Reed said there has been a significant cut back on how many providers will get antibodies.
OU Health Chief COVID Office Dr. Dale Bratzler said some patients have taken to social media accusing doctors of holding out on monoclonal antibody treatments, but he said doctors have to reserve antibody treatments for the sickest of the sick on the brink of death. Not everyone will be able to get it, and if their health care provider has them, he said some patients may not qualify.
“Often times we don’t know what variant patients are infected with,” Bratzler said while pointing out that even if a health care provider has monoclonal antibodies, they may not have a brand of antibodies that will respond to the treatment. Only Sotrovimab has been shown to work against Omicron.
“We are very limited by how we use these by the (National Institutes of Health), and so a provider may have it, but it is in very short supply,” he said.
Reed said communities that specifically cater to high risk immunocompromised individuals are being prioritized for monoclonal antibody doses.
“We want to focus only on those providers who can give that specific care,” he said.
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