If you look inside the right warehouse in Lansing, you’ll discover a stockpile of monoclonal antibodies.  Some medical experts believe they hold great promise to helping to treat people who have contracted the COVID-19 virus. Some patients who have been treated with the antibodies believe the treatment to be effective. And fast.

But so far, only about 10 percent of the state’s supply is being used. The rest just sits in storage. Bridge Michigan reports it is a perplexing situation for many. At least those who are aware of monoclonal antibodies and the potential they present for virus patients.

The Food and Drug Administration approved monoclonal antibodies for use in the treatment of COVID-19 patients last November. Hardly a peep out of the national media. Most of us have never heard any media report about the treatment. The FDA describes the treatment like this. Caution – medical speak follows. “Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. Casirivimab and imdevimab are monoclonal antibodies that are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells". The FDA “approval” is not the same as a typical approval. The agency issued what it calls an “emergency use authorization”.

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Dr.Dr. Matthew Sims is Director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Health. He tells Bridge Michigan there are questions about the treatment which haven’t been adequately answered yet. Including it really and truly can be relied upon to help. He explains there haven’t been enough clinical cases with a wide range of patients of different ages and medical conditions to get a good handle on it yet. The FDA reports a very small study of less than 1,000 COVID patients however, showed enough promise that the agency decided to allow the two types of antibodies to be used on virus patients throughout America.

Dr. Bill Fales is the Medical Director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. He tells Bridge he has been pitching the treatment to hospitals around the state. But he says most are not latching on. Hospital administrators and care supervisors are telling him they’re just too busy dealing with current COVID cases to embrace a new and pretty much unknown type of treatment.

But over time, monoclonal antibodies may prove to be another weapon in the arsenal being applied to combating the virus.

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