MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) - Florida is shutting down its monoclonal antibody treatment sites after the Food and Drug Administration moved to revoke emergency authorization for treatments made by Eli Lilly (bamlanivimab and etesevimab, administered together) and Regeneron (REGEN-COV, or casirivimab and imdevimab), because data showed they are "highly unlikely to be active against the Omicron variant."
"Thousands of Floridians woke up to news that their appointments to get treatment for COVID 19 were cancelled," Governor Ron DeSantis said.
Omicron currently accounts for 99 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Governor DeSantis wants to reverse the FDA's decision.
"Even if with Omicron it's half as effective or even 25% as effective that's better than nothing for people," he said. "Now they are relying on revoking this and pulling the rug out from under people on a single no peered review no clinical trial," DeSantis claimed.
The White House contends they are invested in treatments that work better, and that there are still other options.
"Let's just take a step back here to realize how crazy this is a little bit. We have approached COVID treatments like filling a medicine cabinet, we are not relying on one type, one brand or treatment. We invested in and continue to buy a variety of cross monoclonal antibodies, pre-exposure prevention therapies, and oral antivirals," Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary said. She added that the Biden Administration has also provided more medicine. "We have sent them 71,000 doses of treatments that are effective against omicron, and are effective against Delta."
DeSantis has made monoclonal antibodies a cornerstone of his response to surges of coronavirus cases, often pushing the treatment more vigorously than vaccines.
Covid experts like Dr. Aileen Marty, who specializes in infectious disease at Florida International University had been expecting such a decision from the FDA.
"It makes no sense to use a very expensive medication that carries a risk to the patient and provides no benefit," she said.
Earlier this month, amid a record-breaking surge of COVID-19 cases, DeSantis assailed the Biden administration for pausing shipments of the monoclonal antibodies and pushed for the treatment to remain widely available.
On January 7, DeSantis said he'd secured 15,000 doses of Regeneron's antibody treatment for the state, despite the pharmaceutical company saying in December its REGEN-COV antibodies "have diminished potency against Omicron."
GlaxoSmithKline's monoclonal antibody, sotrovimab, is the only version of the treatment that appears to work against Omicron, the FDA said last month.
While the sites are no longer running some ER, urgent cares, and hospitals still have a small supply of various monoclonal antibody treatments.
(©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)
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