American doctors upset by uncertain treatment methods for Covid-19

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No way possible to assess the nature of the patient’s variant



Christina Jewett, New York Times Press Service

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New York

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Posted 05.01.22, 02:41 AM


Most American doctors have no way of determining which variant of the coronavirus a patient carries, a distinction that could mean the difference between life and death.

High-risk patients with the Delta variant could benefit greatly from two specific monoclonal antibody treatments that reduce hospitalizations and deaths. But these drugs would likely do nothing for patients with omicron, who would only respond to a third antibody treatment which is very rare.

While U.S. officials have approved the use of a bypass test that can identify omicron’s genetic signature, experts say it’s not possible for large healthcare systems facing a patient crash. ‘use in each case.

This makes treating patients difficult in places like Maryland, where cases are on the rise and omicron makes up about 58% of them. The Delta variant also holds up well in the Great Plains and parts of the West, including California.

While there is no approved test to determine each individual’s variant, a nationwide network of states and other labs are using genome sequencing tests to track variants on a large scale in communities. Health systems then use these regional estimates or their own data to decide which antibody treatments to use in their clinics and hospitals.

Many of them concluded that a largely Delta patient community would benefit the most from antibody-based drugs made by Regeneron and Eli Lilly, while communities where omicron patients predominate would benefit from GlaxoSmithKline’s antibodies and Vir Biotechnology.

Federal officials tried to make the decision for the nation. On December 23, they stopped shipments of antibody treatments by Eli Lilly and Regeneron after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 73% of Covid cases in the United States were omicron.

An outcry followed from Republican political leaders, who argued that some people in their states were still infected with Delta. And on Tuesday, the CDC lowered its estimate of national Omicron cases to 59%. On December 31, federal authorities resumed national shipping of all antibody treatments.

Over the next few weeks, as the country grapples with this uneven mix of the two variants, tailoring treatments to each patient will be “extraordinarily difficult,” said Dr Alex Greninger, deputy director of the University of Clinical Virology Laboratories. Washington Medical Center.

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