SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Despite the Federal Drug Administration’s decision to revoke emergency use authorization for COVID-19 antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly, there are still other treatment options in Central Florida.
Physicians at True Health in Seminole County have been using the newer drug Sotrovimab. They say they’ve now switched all their appointments from Regeneron to the newer drug.
True Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Karenna Senors says she was shocked at how fast the FDA discontinued the use of Regeneron, but that they will change to recommended medications.
The last time New Smyrna Beach resident Melissa Stuck made the trip out to the True Health monoclonal antibody transfusion center in Seminole County, she received Regeneron to treat her COVID-19 symptoms.
She made a second trip Tuesday for her 86-year-old mother, who received the newer Sotrovimab.
“I’m very happy that this is the place that we chose, and that they were proactive and were able to get another type of treatment for her,” Stucks said.
Stuck also thinks it was premature for the FDA to discontinue use of Regeneron.
“They should have left it out there for people to try,” Stuck said. “There’s a lot of people across the state now who aren’t getting any treatment because they pulled it so fast.”
Seminole County officials and True Health began ordering Sotrovimab in November from the federal government, meaning they’ll be able to stay in operation as the state sites shut down.
“Our pharmacy director was saying, ‘why don’t we order a small amount,’ and you’re like, let’s go ahead and do so,” Dr. Senors said. “Because the way it’s going, the variants keep modifying and changing.”
Dr. Senors says her patients were still doing well with Regeneron, but they will follow the science.
“The other ones are better for other variants,” Dr. Senors said. “Especially when the Delta variant came along, the Regeneron was extremely beneficial towards that one. It’s just there’s some changes that are happening on the spike proteins, and because of that, some of the medications are working a little bit differently.”
Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris says he, along with the Florida Department of Health, are working to secure more Sotrovimab for the state site in Altamonte Springs so they can re-open it.
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