A good piece on NPR Radio by NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris today about the arrival of antibody-based drugs – most particularly Eli Lilly’s Bamlanivimab – as a important new treatment option for COVID-19.
Alas, some of the most critical points about this opportunity are still being missed – or misunderstood. For example:
- Talking about the short supply, Mr. Harris said “the Federal government bought up the existing supply.” This misses the crucial point that they paid to manufacture this current supply, and could be moving right now to ramp up production!
- In saying that it has to be given early, Mr. Harris misunderstood that it would be wasted on most who receive it “because if you give it to 100 people, only 7 on average would get sick anyways.” In actuality, candidates for treatment at this stage, given the supply, will be carefully screened to be in high risk groups, where rates of hospitalization range from 20% to 50% and death between 10% to 20%. This is a huge difference maker for the most vulnerable.
- At least he did mention one specific healthcare network that has received it: “in Washington DC, the Medstar hospitals have converted a facility to this specific use”.
Let’s hope that a lot more information gets out quickly so that the medical community and the public is aware of this game changing treatment, knows how critical early treatment is, and where to go for treatment.