Oklahoma Doctors Reporting Shortage Of Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Tuesday, September 21st 2021, 7:20 pm
By: Karl Torp

Doctors call it a COVID-19 treatment that is proving to shorten hospital stays: monoclonal antibodies.

The man-made antibodies are designed to attach to the spike protein of coronavirus, enabling the virus to easily spread.

But a number of clinics in the state offering the medicine said their supplies have recently been slashed.

The Covid Treatment Infusion Center in Moore usually administers 250-300 monoclonal antibody treatments a week.

“We got 96 vials to last us a week and maybe two,” said Jessica Deppen with the infusion center about the latest shipment.

State Rep. Jon Echols said he’s heard from hospital CEOs and clinics around the metro dealing with same supply issues for monoclonal antibody treatments.

In September, the federal government took over the allocation process of the treatment.

“The feds take something that was working and made it worse. They need to stop, get out and make it more available,” said Rep. Echols.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is being used to determine how much of the antibody treatment is allocated and where it goes.

The fear is that the demand for the treatment may lead to hoarding and a permanent shortage.

"Demand for the treatment is not aligning with what is being requested,” said Elce Holloway, the OSDH state hospital preparedness program coordinator.

Holloway said 9,000 doses of monoclonal antibody treatment are being ordered each week for Oklahoma facilities yet only 2000-2500 are being utilized.

Holloway admits there are utilization reporting challenges that still need to be worked out and that’s adding to the supply chain delays.

Meanwhile, clinics are being told to prioritize patients.

Covid Treatment Infusion Center is no longer offering the treatment to patients who’ve just been exposed to COVID and haven’t tested positive for the virus.

They did before this month and said the medicine can help contain a COVID outbreak.

The OSDH isn’t sure how long it will be in charge of allocating monoclonal antibody treatments or how long clinics can expect delays with orders of the medicine.