SAN DIEGO — Doctors have praised the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody therapy in treating COVID-19 patients who are dealing with symptoms, but there’s a nationwide shortage of the antibodies and it’s already affecting local clinics.
“I’ve heard a lot of people real worried, all parts of the country, about their supplies,” said Dr. Chrisitian Ramers, an infectious disease specialist with Family Health Centers of San Diego.
Monoclonal therapy involves infusions for those with COVID who are symptomatic and at high-risk for severe illness. If treated within the first ten days of symptoms, doctors say it reduces the risk of hospitalization by 75 to 85 percent.
Family Health Centers is one of several providers set up through the county to treat patients. Dr. Ramers says demand t went up over the summer, with cases spiking and the delta variant spreading.
“The word has essentially gotten out and the demand is much greater than it ever used to be,” he told FOX 5 Thursday.
More than half the U.S. supply has been going to several southern states with lower vaccination rates. Now the government is telling health care providers to focus on those most at-risk — especially those not vaccinated and over 65 years old.
Earlier this week, Ramers said his clinic was down to just a week’s supply, but then got some good news.
“We’re going to get another two full weeks to replenish our supplies. Things are looking good so far,” Ramers said. But “it is concerning the supplies are dwindling and we’re sort of struggling to keep up.”
San Diego County reported 894 new COVID-19 infections and 12 new deaths Thursday, according the latest data.
A total of 37 new community outbreaks were confirmed in the past seven days: 18 in grade school settings, four in business settings, four in restaurant/bar settings, three in daycare/preschool/childcare settings, two in government settings, one in a college/university setting, one in a construction setting, one in a grocery setting, one in a healthcare setting, one in restaurant setting and one in a retail setting.