Mr. President, respectfully, you are wrong about cutting off monoclonal antibody treatments to Florida.
Before I go on, I guess it needs to be said that I am vaxxed and boosted and I wear a mask 98% of the time in public settings. I also encourage everyone to get vaxxed, get boosted, and take steps to protect yourself and others.
Now that that is off my chest, I also want to say that Gov. Ron DeSantis is right to be pissed about the sudden change of heart from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Here’s what happened over the last 24 hours.
For months, the feds have been sending down monoclonal antibody treatment kits (MATs) and these have been primarily REGEN-COV (made by Regeneron), bamlanivimab and sotrovimab. These treatments have been found to be effective in lessening the severity and duration of sickness caused by COVID-19 and the COVID-19 variants.
Well, sort of.
If you have omicron, the above have proven to not be all that helpful, and the suggestion has been for those who have omicron to forgo that treatment. The sort of good news is that, for almost everyone, omicron doesn’t kill you.
But here’s the rub.
When we get tested — and you must show a positive COVID-19 test in order to receive MAT — without an extra lab test, we just can’t know what variant of COVID-19 has taken up residence in your body. So, if 80% of those with COVID-19 have omicron, then it is kind of wasted on them. But as there are little to no side effects, it was felt that because a certain percentage were still catching the more-deadly delta variant, the treatment was well worth it.
So, we pressed onward and have been giving everyone who asked (and within the limits of available supplies) the existing crop of MATs.
Without warning, the FDA yanked approval, and mid-stride the state was forced to shut down monoclonal treatment statewide. (I don’t want to hear about the prior tests. On Monday, they were sending them and then on Tuesday they simply said, “Nope.”)
In my not-so-humble opinion, this is total BS and frankly, DeSantis is right to call out the FDA — and more pointedly, the Biden administration — for this 11th-hour shutdown without any real warning and especially since they are also not distributing the types of MATs shown to be more effective in treating omicron.
Anecdotally, I know several people who tested positive for omicron, immediately received Regeneron, and within 24 hours were feeling better.
So there you have it! For those of you who said I am biased against the Governor, this is me standing up and shouting, “DeSantis is correct and Biden is wrong for taking away — without warning — this treatment option.”
For me, this isn’t about whether to vax or not to vax, to wear a mask or not, this is about offering a lifeline to those who are sick — irrespective of how they got sick — and putting their care first. What the FDA has done is ham-handed, wrong and cruel.