The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) decided to prohibit the use of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID patients, arguing that they are not effective against the variant called Omicron. The decision was poorly received by Governor Ron DeSantis, one of the main promoters of these drugs.
“Because data show these treatments are highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant, which is circulating at a very high frequency throughout the United States, these treatments are not authorized for use in any U.S. states, territories, and jurisdictions at this time,” the FDA said according to The Hill.
According to the statement, the authorization for emergency use remains in effect:
“In the future, if patients in certain geographic regions are likely to be infected or exposed to a variant that is susceptible to these treatments, then use of these treatments may be authorized in these regions.”
The two best known monoclonal antibody treatments are Regeneron which is a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab, and that of Eli Lilly’s laboratory which were first known to have been used by former President Donald Trump.
Monoclonal antibody treatments have been widely used to boost the immune system and prevent people infected with COVID from developing serious diseases. It is considered a preventive treatment.
DeSantis criticizes FDA’s decision
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was a leading proponent of monoclonal antibody treatments, criticized the FDA’s decision as not properly informed and announced the closure of all the centers it had set up last year to provide the treatment to Floridians.
“Without a shred of clinical data to support this action, Biden has forced trained medical professionals to choose between treating their patients or breaking the law,” DeSantis said according to Fox News.
“This indefensible edict takes treatment out of the hands of medical professionals and will cost some Americans their lives. There are real-world implications to Biden’s medical authoritarianism – Americans’ access to treatments is now subject to the whims of a failing president,” he added.
Florida’s Deputy Secretary of Health, Kenneth A. Scheppke, explained that the state disagrees with the FDA’s decision, particularly with respect to Regeneron, and pointed out that the regulator has not provided any clinical evidence to support it.
In November of last year, the DeSantis administration entered into a feud with the Biden administration because they reduced or delayed the supply of monoclonal antibodies, in what appeared to be an attempt by the federal government to push vaccination instead of this alternative treatment.
However, according to DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, most of those seeking the treatment are already vaccinated.