The number of cases in the US is now rising at an alarming rate, with Omicron now spreading to more than 37 states. In a recent study, it has been found that from all the three approved monoclonal antibody treatments, only one is effective against Omicron.
Shortage Of Monoclonal Antibody Disrupts The Health Care System
This has led many of the hospitals and nursing homes to stop administering the other two leading to a shortage of medicines.
Monoclonal antibodies are currently given via injections, and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stated that the number of cases in the US has increased by 12% since last week.
The antibody treatment which is known to be effective against Omicron is being produced by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology. The other two antibody treatments were being produced by Regeneron and Eli Lilly and are said to work very well against delta variants and all previous variants as well. Many of the nursing homes have stopped giving the other two antibodies to patients as they are not effective against the new variant.
As per reports it has been known that the federal government had earlier bought as much as 450,000 doses of sotrovimab which is the working antibody treatment, however held them off as they were not sure how Omicron would affect the people. Now knowing that this works against Omicron as well, the government has already shipped out 55,000 doses to many of the states wherein the number of cases is rising.
Kathleen Quinn who is the spokeswoman for GSK stated that the company would be producing more than 300,000 doses so as to meet the demand of the market. Many of the hospitals have publicly stated that they are not going to use antibody treatment offered by Regeneron and Eli Lilly for the time being.
Regeneron and Eli Lilly have stated that they are developing new drugs which can be effective against Omicron as well, however, for doing so it would take around 2 to 3 months to be fully developed.
On the other hand, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has sanctioned the antiviral pill by Pfizer known as Paxlovid. This is to be taken in a 5 days course and is said to be as effective as monoclonal treatments. FDA spokesman said that this is an important step as the number of hospitalizations is expected to go down with this antiviral pill.
As per reports from CDC, the US has now more than 50 million cases of covid since the pandemic started. The number of deaths since day 1 is now more than 800,000. It has been one year since the vaccination program started in the US and still has only managed to fully vaccinate 71% of the total population. Health care authorities stated that if more people had taken their vaccination, the number of deaths and hospitalization could have been largely avoided, and doctors would have been able to help the critical cases.
The US had seen its highest number of cases in Jan 2021 as many people celebrated the vacations in 2020. As per the airline industry, they are seeing the number of bookings similar to that of 2019 before corona and most of the flights are being flown full.
With the Omicron now making its way to most of the states, the numbers of hospitalizations are sure to increase in January and doctors have been advised to make up their schedule free. The federal government is now sending additional aids and beds to many of the states so that they can tend to the needy. The primary defense against Omicron still remains the same, that is to get vaccinated along with booster shots.