The City of Palm Beach Fire Department suspended its Regeneron therapeutic monoclonal antibody program on Wednesday.
In an alert on Wednesday, the department cited the significant increase in demand for the treatment driven by the rapid increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate that has resulted from the spread of the omicron variant.
The department was scheduled to administer the last of its 100 doses to a patient on Wednesday, EMS division chief Sean Baker told the Daily News.
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The city began offering treatment in August to residents who were in the early stages of being diagnosed with COVID-19 or had been exposed to the virus and had mild to moderate symptoms.
Baker said demand for the city’s supplies had been quite weak with “demand lulling around September.” Two weeks after the start of the program, 13 people had received the treatment – eight residents who received the drugs at home and five employees who were treated in a therapy zone set up in one of the fire stations, then said. Baker.
Baker said on Wednesday that the city had not ordered additional amounts of treatment because it didn’t want to risk it being wasted with demand so low.
Rising demand for therapeutic monoclonal antibodies means the supply chain is backed up and it has not been able to estimate when treatments might arrive. The department placed an order with the state, but “we now have an ETA open on when we’ll get more due to the backlog,” Baker said.
He noted that the ministry’s initial order arrived in seven days. The state orders the treatment from the federal government and then distributes it to local departments, he said.
“Keep getting the vaccine, get your booster, and start taking the mask and distance advice,” Baker said.
“We have already done it,” he added.
Regeneron’s treatment – REGEN-COV – has been approved for emergency use by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in adults and certain pediatric patients who present with high risk of progression to severe symptoms.
It can also be given to people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and who have mild to moderate symptoms.
Treatment is not permitted for patients already hospitalized with COVID-19, requiring oxygen due to COVID-19 or requiring an increase in their baseline oxygen uptake.
Palm Beach Fire Rescue will issue another press release once supplies are restored. In the meantime, he advises those looking for monoclonal treatments to check the locations provided by the Florida Department of Health at floridahealthcovid19.gov/monoclonal-antibody-therapy/mab-locator