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One treatment for COVID-19 to end at Asante

Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment not proven to be effective against omicron.

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Now that the omicron variant of COVID-19 has surpassed the delta variant as the predominant variant in our region, a once-effective treatment option for the virus will no longer be offered by Asante due to its lack of effectiveness on treating the new variant.

Drug-maker Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment was highly effective against the delta variant; however, the drug has not shown to be effective against disease caused by the omicron variant. As such, on Saturday, Jan. 8, Asante closed its drive-thru clinic for monoclonal antibody treatment.

“There is no doubt this therapy did its job at the height of the delta surge and kept hundreds of people out of the hospital,” said Doug Ward, vice president of Operations for Asante Physician Partners.

Currently, more than 80% of COVID cases in our area are the omicron variant, and that percentage continues to rise. Just one week ago, suspected cases of omicron were reported at 25%.

Located in the Black Oak Medical Plaza parking lot, Asante opened the drive-thru clinic on Aug. 30, 2021 after subcutaneous administration of monoclonal antibodies became available through a four-shot process. “The clinic was one of the first of its kind in the nation and the demand was enormous,” Ward said.

People from across the state came to the drive-thru clinic, where staff typically saw an average of 40 people a day and administered about 1,700 treatments since the clinic opened nearly four months ago. Studies predicted that for every seven people treated with the antibodies, one hospitalization would be prevented.

The four-shot treatment option followed the original intravenous infusion method. In December 2020, the FDA approved the emergency use of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19 via intravenous infusion to people with an early diagnosis and who were in a high-risk category.

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