The federal government’s sudden rationing of monoclonal antibody treatments, which keep Americans who get COVID-19 out of hospitals, is hitting Alabama hard, with some sites already running out of or projected to run out of supply soon.
The antibodies are highly successful at stemming the effects of COVID-19 when given to patients soon after they contract the disease, which is caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. But a huge jump in demand in recent weeks has left what some officials have described as a national shortage, triggering the federal government to intervene and start doling out what’s left.
Stringfellow and Regional Medical Center in Anniston didn’t have any of the antibodies left on Wednesday, according to Dr. Almena Free, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer. Other facilities in Jefferson and Huntsville counties are struggling to source enough of the treatment, Dr. David Thrasher, a pulmonary critical care physician in Montgomery, said a day later.
“Some entities are very low on product and some project running out of product over the weekend,” Dr. Karen Landers, a health officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health, told The Epoch Times in an email on Friday.
The shortage is hitting at a critical time. Intensive care unit capacity is “beyond full,” Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama’s health officer, told reporters in a Sept. 16 virtual briefing. That means there are more people in the state that require critical care than there are beds to take care of them.
COVID-19 isn’t entirely to blame, as many patients don’t have the disease. But the monoclonal antibody (mAb) shortage will likely contribute to the issue. Some 70 percent of patients who get the treatment soon after their diagnosis don’t need hospital care, according to clinical studies and experts like Thrasher.
“We were originally told [by the federal government] we were only going to get 70 percent of our allocation. That means 30 percent of people are not being treated, and some of them will die,” the doctor said.
“That is not acceptable. … This is not right, what the federal government’s doing,” he added.