Despite the fact that the prescription has yet to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the US government has purchased 600,000 doses of a novel antibody drug called bebtelovimab that appears to be able to combat the Omicron form.
The contract is valued at least $720 million, according to the business.
If the FDA grants emergency use authorization, the new medicine would be supplied free to states, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
“We have more COVID-19 treatments than ever before, a billion free at-home testing, and enough vaccines to get everyone vaccinated and boosted,” he explained. “If approved by the FDA, this acquisition will add an extra 600,000 courses of medication to our nation’s’medicine cabinet,’ potentially reducing the severity of COVID-19-related illnesses in Americans.”
“We want to make sure that if an American develops COVID-19, they can obtain a treatment that works,” continued Becerra.
According to the Associated Press, the HHS will receive roughly 300,000 treatment courses of the new antibody medication in February and another 300,000 in March. Following FDA approval, the drugs would be ready to ship.
The Omicron variety now accounts for nearly all COVID-19 infections in the United States, although two of the most widely used monoclonal antibodies are ineffective against it. Two new antiviral medications from Pfizer and Merck, as well as an antibody drug from GlaxoSmithKline that works against Omicron, are in short supply.
According to the Associated Press, data suggests that bebtelovimab is effective against Omicron, including the novel BA.2 mutation.
The FDA removed Regeneron’s and Lilly’s emergency use authorizations late last month, despite the fact that neither medicine works against Omicron.
Monoclonal antibody medicines are used to stop viruses from infecting the body. According to the Associated Press, they’re administered intravenously or by injection early in an infection to lessen the chance of severe sickness and death.