FDA halts use of antibody drugs that don't work vs. omicron

The FDA's decision is a point of contention in some southern states where the drugs are still being heavily pushed.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Despite having been administered to millions of Americans with COVID-19, now the Food and Drug Administration has revoked emergency use authorization for two leading antibody drug treatments.

On Monday, U.S. health officials warned that drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly should no longer be used because both have shown to be ineffective against the dominant omicron variant of the virus.

The move is a point of contention in some southern states where the drugs are still being heavily pushed.

"I don't under the controversy quite frankly. We don't want to use products that we don't think are going to help people," said Dr. John Zurlo, Division Director of Infectious Diseases and Chair of the Jefferson Enterprise COVID Task Force.

Zurlo said currently what health systems are using is the monoclonal treatment called Sotrovimab from GlaxoSmithKline.

"It turns out to be active against the omicron variant," said Zurlo.

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"This is the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in US history," the official said.



Dr. Delana Wardlaw of Temple Health says antibody treatments are generally meant to be used in COVID-positive patients with mild symptoms.

"The medication is also reserved for people who have certain underlying chronic illnesses that puts them at risk for developing complications and or death," Wardlaw said.

She also said these treatments are not meant to substitute vaccinations.

"Vaccination has proven to be very effective at decreasing severe complications and death from COVID," Wardlaw said.

Could you be vaccinated, boosted and still receive this treatment?

Zurlo said some people that have been fully vaccinated and boosted who have immunosuppression may not respond to the vaccines as well; he said so even those people who have been vaccinated could be candidates for monoclonal antibody treatment.

Both Regeneron and Lilly previously announced they were developing new antibodies that target omicron.

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