There have been rising demands for COVID19 antibody treatments from all the states in the United States as delta variant has been causing a massive surge in COVID19 cases. Now, the Biden government has imposed new caps on the states’ capacity to have access to antibody drugs for COVID19 infection in the middle of increasing demand. GOP governors in the US have been heavily relying on antibody drugs as a key weapon against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The US health officials have planned to assign definite amounts to each state under the new program. Health officials have said that under the new approach, they are going to distribute the 150000 doses more evenly each week. They are likely to slice into shipments to states that are led by GOPs in the Southeast that have been relying on expensive antibody drugs as a key part of their pandemic strategy while dodging mask mandate and other restrictions. Health experts have said that the new decision might increase tension between the Biden government and these governors.
The decision to put a tab on the use of antibody drugs might not go down well with Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis who has been criticizing the COVID19 response of the federal government. President Joe Biden has condemned Ron DeSantis and other governors for not encouraging mask-wearing and vaccine coverage in their respective states. The federal government has been sending shipments of antibody drugs to states on a need basis so far. Top health officials have been encouraging some states to seek more supply of antibody drugs that have been battling a surge in cases due to the delta variant. However, federal officials have seen that the demand for these drugs has shot up from a few southern states. Federal health officials have been concerned that these states have been consuming uneven amounts of the drugs supply.
Health officials from the Biden government have said that Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana have been consuming 70 percent of the total supply until the first week of September. They have said that the disparity has prompted the government to rein in control of antibody-drug supplies due to concerns that the government might not have enough supplies in hand to deal with COVID19 surges in other parts of the country. In the first week of this month, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has said that they will look into the matter more closely to find out the amounts of antibody drugs that are being used by all the states at present. At that time, the HHS has said that it is not going to reduce the states’ supply. However, it has changed now as the HHS has informed the states that the department is planning to take back control over the allocation of supplies.
The chief medical officer of the HHS Emergency Preparedness and Response, John Redd has said that now the distribution of supplies will take place based on caseload and the usage of antibody treatments. Now, the HHS will decide the amounts of supplies that are received by each state per week. Dr. John Redd has said that territorial and state health departments will spot sites that need the supply and will decide the amounts of supplies allocated to these sites. Alabama’s state medical association has condemned the decision saying that it will restrict the access to care for hospitals that are battling a surge in patients dealing with COVID19. A spokesperson from the state health department in Tennessee, Sarah Tanksley has said that extra scrutiny of state orders has been causing delays in getting the treatments to health care providers.
In recent weeks, federal officials have expressed their concerns over the reliance of southern states on costly drugs that are paid for by the federal government. On the other hand, many governors have criticized President Biden’s attempts to increase the rate of vaccination and reduce the number of rising COVID19 cases. As per the latest report, Tennessee and Alabama have been depending heavily on these expensive drugs and both states have the lowest rate of vaccination against coronavirus. Marcus Plescia, who is the chief medical officer of the Association of Territorial and State Health Officials, has said that these states have not been able to successfully implement their mitigation efforts. Health officials have said that with the new decision, the HHS is going back to its initial response during the early days of the pandemic. Initially, there have been fewer options to fight against the deadly virus and the demand for any drug that can keep people safe from the virus has been quite high. When the officials have authorized COVID19 shots and started rolling out the vaccines, there has been a decline in caseload and demand for antibody drugs.
However, when delta variant has started causing surges in cases again across the southeastern states, Republican governors have shown great reliance on antibody drugs as an ideal alternative to reinforcing COVID19 restrictions. Governor of Texas Greg Abbott has launched a number of antibody infusion centers. He has opposed mask-wearing requirements in schools across the state as well. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida as well has tried his best to make these drugs widely available across the state. He has openly downplayed the threat of the virus and the federal government’s efforts to implement vaccine and mask mandates. Amid the rising demand for antibody drugs, the Biden government has halted its decision to speed up the manufacturing of these drugs. Health officials have said that the government has already shot up the weekly production of these drugs from 100000 doses to 150000 doses. Many state officials have said that they will need new limits on the supply of antibody drugs to combat the delta strain and keep patients safe.