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A New Monoclonal Antibody Drug Is Coming To Florida To Address Cut In Regeneron Shipments

 Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Sept. 23, 2021, that the state will receive 3,000 doses of the monoclonal antibody treatment sotrovimab.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Sept. 23, 2021, in Tampa that the state will receive 3,000 doses of the monoclonal antibody treatment sotrovimab.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will receive 3,000 doses of sotrovimab, which received emergency use authorization in May, as the Biden administration begins rationing antibody treatments to Florida.

Florida has purchased the shipment of a new monoclonal antibody medication to help treat people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced the shipment of 3,000 doses sotrovimab to help the state overcome what he says will be a shortage in the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment due to federal rationing.

"We're going to be able to use that sotrovimab to bridge some of the gaps that are gonna be developing as a result of the Biden administration dramatically cutting medications to the state of Florida," DeSantis said at the Florida Department of Health office in Tampa.

Florida and six other Southern states have been using 70 percent of the weekly Regeneron shipments from the federal government, officials said last week.

The Regeneron treatment is purchased exclusively by the federal government. Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would begin allocating a weekly distribution “based on weekly reports of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in addition to data on inventories and use” submitted by states, agency officials said last week.

The White House has said the distribution plan is aimed at achieving “equity” among states.

Florida is capped at receiving 27,850 doses of the monoclonal antibody treatment Regeneron and 3,100 doses of treatments developed by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, according to federal health officials.

“The most recent shipment that we’re scheduled to receive for the entire state of Florida is a little less than 18,000 doses of Regeneron. Our state sites just a few weeks ago were doing well over 30,000 doses just in our sites, that doesn’t even include any of the hospitals,” DeSantis said.

In August, DeSantis began opening the first of 21 rapid-response sites to administer Regeneron treatments, and more than 90,000 doses have been given.

DeSantis said the future of some of the state-run sites may be in jeopardy due to the distribution change.

“We may have to be making decisions soon about how many of the sites can remain open. We’re making decisions about how many doses each hospital is going to get. And these are not decisions we should be having to make,” DeSantis said.

The Food and Drug Administration has touted the success of Regeneron’s two-drug cocktail, and DeSantis has been promoting its effectiveness during appearances across the state.

The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for sotrovimab in May. It is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and available for ages 12 and older.

"The results have been very good so far," DeSantis said, "and I anticipate given how strong the clinical data has been with sotrovimab that we're going to continue to see very positive results going forward."

Unlike Regeneron, which is administered by injection, sotrovimab is given intravenously.

DeSantis said the state will prioritize getting the medication to high-risk patients.

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Carl Lisciandrello is digital news editor of WUSF Public Media.