It is wonderful to see a nationally coordinated and funded strategy for execution of a comprehensive response to COVID-19, and we applaud the Biden Administration and the Task Force for this first step.
However, it is very disappointing – astonishing, really – that it contains not a word about increasing production, distribution and effective use of the most effective proven treatment available and saving lives now: antibodies. And they are being used with great success. If you google the news, you will find that members of Congress, Executive Branch and VIPs are receiving this treatment regularly. In some states and health systems, it is standard protocol – for early, aggressive treatment of those that fall into high risk groups for severe outcomes. But in far too many states and health systems, it is still not known and understood by the medical community, and left sitting on shelves. And most certainly there is a lack of a clear, national program and focus to bring this treatment into the battle as widely and quickly as possible.
The closest the document gets is in one paragraph on a “treatment discovery and development program” – but even there the focus is on antivirals, which will take many months or years to develop, trial and manufacture. While this class of drugs certainly holds much promise, both monoclonal antibodies and high titer convalescent plasma have been demonstrated to be effective. All that has been lacking has been the funding, focus and resources to execute an effective plan to use them. We hope and pray that this realization will quickly dawn on the new team as the get up to speed.
Prioritize therapeutics and establish a comprehensive, integrated COVID-19 treatment discovery and development program. Effective treatments for COVID-19 are critical to saving lives.The federal government will establish a comprehensive, integrated,and coordinated preclinical drug discovery and development program, with diverse clinical trials, to allow therapeutics to be evaluated and developed rapidly in response to COVID-19 and other pandemic threats. This includes promoting the immediate and rapid development of therapeutics that respond to COVID-19 by developing new antivirals directed against the coronavirus family,accelerating research and support for clinical trials for therapeutics in response to COVID-19 with a focus on those that can be readily scaled and administered, and developing broad spectrum antivirals to prevent future viral pandemics. President Biden will issue Executive Order Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatment for COVID-19 which also outlines steps to bolster clinicalcare capacity, provide assistance to long-term care facilities and intermediate care facilities for people with disabilities, increase health care workforce capacity, expand access to programs designed to meet long-term health needs of patients recovering from COVID-19,and support access to safe and effective COVID-19 therapies for those without coverage.National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness
New England Journal of Medicine, January 21, 2020
- Monoclonal Antibodies to Disrupt Progression of Early Covid-19 Infection
- REGN-COV2, a Neutralizing Antibody Cocktail, in Outpatients with Covid-19
- SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody LY-CoV555 in Outpatients with Covid-19