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Louisville health leaders concerned about treatment access after FDA halts 2 antibody therapies

With only one monoclonal antibody therapy remaining, Louisville health leaders are concerned about access and supply.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With the rise in COVID cases, there's a new development on a limited antibody treatment. On Monday, the Food Drug Administration (FDA) took two monoclonal antibody therapies off the COVID-19 treatment list. 

The FDA revoked emergency authorization from the Eli Lilly and Regeneron treatments because they were ineffective against the omicron variant.

"That has affected how the virus is treated locally because it is in more limited supply when there is only one effective choice," said Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, the Associate Medical Director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Dr. Hartlage said with only one treatment still available, there is concern about access.

"After you get infected, as far as specific treatments like that, it can be in limited supply right now because of the limitations in what's available and the manufacturing needing to catch up a little bit," she said.

The removed treatments, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, which are given together, and REGEN-COV, can still be used against other variants of COVID-19, FDA officials said. Sotrovimab is still being used to treat the omicron variant.

Additionally, two new antiviral pills from Pfizer and Merck have been approved to treat those dealing with severe COVID-19 symptoms, but both are in short supply.

If future variants appear to be responsive to the treatments, officials could reevaluate the decision to remove the emergency authorization.

Contact reporter Gabrielle Harmon at gharmon@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@_GabbyHarmonTV) and Facebook.

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