Federal government to cut Texas’ supply of monoclonal antibody medication by half, MMH tightening criteria to conserve therapy for those most at risk


Dr. Aldo Calvo, Medical Director of Family Medicine at Broward Health, shows a Regeneron monoclonal antibody infusion bag during a news conference Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 at the Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar)- Midland Memorial Hospital held a news conference Thursday to update the community on coronavirus hospitalizations in the Tall City. One critical piece of information the hospital spoke about is the monoclonal antibody availability, or lack thereof. 

The federal government says it will cut Texas’ supply of REGEN-COV, the treatment made by Regeneron, in half.

“Unfortunately, there’s a new development with regard to Regeneron,” said Chief Executive Officer Russell Meyers. “The federal government has recently reported that 70% of the Regeneron usage across the nation is happening in states that have low rates of vaccination, like Texas. In recognition of that, the federal government has claimed responsibility now for the distribution of Regeneron across the country with the intention of providing a more even distribution… reducing the percentage coming to the low vaccination states. Accordingly, here in the short term, Texas’ allocation has been cut in half. We don’t know when our next supply will be available.”

As of Thursday morning, MMH said it had only 100 doses of the therapy left for Midland patients. As such, the hospital will be tightening the criteria for those eligible to receive the treatment.

Effectively immediately, the following criteria will apply: the patient must be 50 years of age or older, have a Body Mass Index greater than 35, and have other health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Meyers said patients who don’t meet the criteria should consult their healthcare provider to see about a referral. Still, priority will be given to those most at risk. 

So far, Midland has given 1,261 infusions. Only 7% of those treated with the therapy have been admitted to the hospital.

“We’ve gotten very good results,” Meyers stated. 

What will this mean for hospitalizations going forward? That remains to be seen. For now, the hospital continues to see a slight decrease in COVID-19 patients. 

As of Thursday, the hospital reported it is caring for 78 patients with the virus. 22 of those are on a ventilator. The patients range in age from eight to ninety-one. 

Overall, the positivity rate is trending downward as well. According to Meyers, last week the hospital reported a positivity rate of 23%. The positivity is sitting at 21% as of Thursday. 

“So, as the census falls and percentage positives come down, we do have a little bit of encouragement about where we might be on the Delta variant curve,” Meyers said. 

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