New antibody treatment comes to CFL, but most aren’t eligible

ORLANDO, Fla. — Days after Florida’s state-run monoclonal antibody treatment sites were forced to shut down due to scientists declaring the offered treatments ineffective at fighting the Omicron variant, a new therapy has come to Central Florida.

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Unfortunately, most people reading this article won’t be eligible to receive it.

READ: Moderna begins trial for omicron-specific COVID-19 booster shot

The treatment, EVUSHELD, was created by AstraZeneca and authorized by the FDA last month. The two-shot regimen is far different than the other approved (and previously approved) therapies.

First, you can’t get it if you have COVID or have recently been exposed to COVID. Recipients must also have compromised immune systems or are medically unable to get the existing COVID vaccines.

One of the first Orlando residents to receive the shots said it brings a new chance to live a relatively normal life.

“When you have a transplant, you sort of become very trusting of your doctors,” Johnny Diggz said. “So when they say jump, I jump.”

READ: ‘It’s kind of infuriating’: Monoclonal antibody switch leaves Floridians feeling duped

Eyewitness News has talked to Diggz before, when he became one of the first metro residents to get a third COVID vaccine. Since then, he’s had a fourth shot, contracted COVID and received a dose of Regeneron.

Transplant recipients have some of the weakest immune systems, and existing vaccines don’t provoke a strong response, if any. Scientists said EVUSHELD has an 83% effectiveness rate.

Diggz said after his application was approved, he drove to a local treatment center and received his dose before waiting an hour. He experienced zero side effects.

His protection is expected to last at least six months, part of his plan to keep his new liver healthy and honor his donor’s memory.

READ: Coronavirus: There are still monoclonal antibody treatment options available in Central Florida

“Our definition of normal is never going back to normal,” he said, of transplant patients. “You can fight the wave or you can surf the wave and, and I’m surfing the wave. So far it’s done me right.”

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