Florida launching Regeneron rapid response initiative for early COVID treatment



Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes part in a roundtable discussion about the uprising in Cuba at the American Museum of the Cuba Diaspora on July 13, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Thousands of people took to the streets in Cuba on Sunday to protest against the government. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is launching a rapid response unit for Regeneron COVID-19 treatment to reduce the likelihood of hospitalizations. The governor said the data shows the monoclonal antibody treatment would help patients in high-risk categories.

DeSantis said that the “overwhelming majority” of COVID hospital admissions have been among the unvaccinated, though there are breakthrough cases of COVID-19. He said that what hasn’t been seen is widespread vaccination having a limiting effect on waves of infections, though severe health outcomes are less likely for patients who have been vaccinations.

“Vaccination is clearly helping reduce serious illness, it’s reducing your likelihood of being hospitalized, but you also have people who are being hospitalized, so what tools do you have that make the most sense,” DeSantis said. “One of things we’ve been talking about recently is doing monoclonal antibody treatment such as Regeneron.”

Emergency use authorization was granted by the FDA in November. DeSantis says he believes the public, and even some doctors, may not be aware of its availability to the extent they should be.

Now, the governor is launching a rapid response unit using Regeneron treatment as a way to reduce the likelihood of hospitalizations and provide an early treatment option for the state’s COVID patients, as the delta variant continues to sweep through the population, particularly among the unvaccinated.

“Different hospital systems have done it, they’re doing it here in northeast Florida, but it was something, that the more we talked about it, the more people had questions, a lot of people had not even heard of it,” DeSantis said. “So, we see an effort to be able to supplement that effort here in northeast Florida, and other parts of the state, we’ll have additional announcements very soon, partially to be able to get more people in, and we’re going to bring a lot more Regeneron into Florida.”

Calling it the most effective treatment for people infected with COVID-19, DeSantis said the most high-risk patients are the ones who would benefit the most from a higher availability of the treatment, including the elderly, diabetic, and obese patients in Florida.