CA officials warn of shortages of monoclonal antibodies used as COVID treatment amid increased demand nationwide

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Nurse Salina Padilla gives Dr. Prabhakar Tummala a monoclonal antibody infusion at Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Nurse Salina Padilla gives Dr. Prabhakar Tummala a monoclonal antibody infusion at Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Health officials in California are warning of shortages and distribution problems for a medical treatment that can keep COVID-19 patients from falling critically ill.

Monoclonal antibodies have been developed as a treatment for COVID-19. They are thought to be a way to counteract the coronavirus before it can begin destroying the body’s organs, said Dr. Rais Vohra, the interim Fresno County health officer. The antibodies can be used to treat mild or moderate COVID-19 in patients who are not hospitalized.

Recently, the nation has seen a twentyfold increase in demand for monoclonal antibodies; as a result, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is reserving the treatment for areas hit hardest by the pandemic, said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, a deputy health officer for Orange County.

“Because of this, we likely are going to see a drop in monoclonal antibody access for our county,” Chinsio-Kwong said. Healthcare providers are being asked to prioritize the highest-risk people for the therapy.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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