State supply of monoclonal antibody treatment to decrease, health officials say

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MADISON, Ala. — According to local health leaders, the state will see the supply of a crucial COVID-19 treatment drop in order to assist other parts of the country crippled by outbreaks.

Huntsville Hospital’s Madison Wellness & Sports Center had planned for expanding its use of the infusions to potentially save lives within 10 days of infection, but for now, it has to postpone and stick to testing for the virus.

“We’ve been told from the federal government that our amount of monoclonals will come down,” Madison County Medical Society President Dr. Aruna Arora said Wednesday. “The monoclonal antibodies will go to the state public health department and then…just as they distributed vaccines, will distribute these monoclonal antibodies.”

Huntsville Hospital Madison President Mary Lynne Wright said this decrease of “30, 40, maybe even 50 percent” will delay hope of helping people recover, so long as spread remains rampant in north Alabama.

“(We’re) definitely concerned that we’re going to see more people come into the emergency room because it’s very difficult to get over COVID if you’ve got some of these preexisting conditions,” Wright said. “Our emergency rooms right now are being overrun by patients that have COVID. And what is happening to us is we’re filling our beds up. We cannot see other patients that are coming in here with a heart attack or pneumonia, and that’s what’s so difficult for us.”

Wright wants to remind the public that as helpful as the antibody treatment can be to prevent serious illness, there’s no replacement for the vaccine, and no shortage of it either.

“Get the vaccine. I know there’s been a lot of controversy about this. There’s a lot of concern about the vaccine, but it was developed by scientists. It’s not developed by politicians.”

“It’s all about keeping people out of the hospital. That’s our goal,” Wright said.

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