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Gov. Abbott praises Regeneron treatment, but local officials say state's distribution of drug is 'haphazard'

Federal government to start distributing Regeneron experimental coronavirus drug
Posted at 6:26 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:26:40-05

In an effort to reduce coronavirus hospitalizations across the state, Governor Greg Abbott announced the state's steadfast efforts to deliver more vaccines. He also praised the drug that helped President Trump fight off COVID-19 and said more people should look into it.

There have been several examples of success stories from Regeneron, an antibody therapeutic drug. One of those stories includes President Donald Trump, who was treated with the drug in October 2020 after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Now, state officials are calling Regeneron another tool in the toolbox to help level off hospitalization numbers.

“I strongly urge you to step up and make yourself available for this life-changing drug that could help you get COVID put behind you far more quickly,” Gov. Abbott said. “Probably without the need to go to a hospital.”

However, Regeneron is not for everybody. It’s for those with an early case of COVID-19 who are at high risk of becoming hospitalized.

But what exactly is Regeneron?

“So, it’s basically a boost of antibodies without your body having to take the time to make them,” Karen Percell, the executive director of quality at AdventHealth of Central Texas said.

The drug was approved for emergency use back in November. Since then, it’s helped Central Texans avoid hospitals.

“It doesn't seem to change the nausea, the vomiting, the body aches or any of the other COVID-19 symptoms,” explained Joshua Houser, the chairman emergency medicine at Baylor, Scott & White Hillcrest. “It is basically... looking at respiratory failure.”

However, there’s not a lot of the drug. The state sends doses to local hospitals, and officials say they’re always unsure how much they’ll get.

“They [state officials] decide how they [Regeneron doses] get allocated, so we don’t have any say in when we get more, when we run out or any of the other things,” Houser said. “It kind of haphazardly shows up, and everyday we find out how many we have or don't have.”

The state opened two treatment centers to distribute these types of drugs, but Gov. Abbott says more are on the way.

“I know dozens of people who have received this antibody therapeutic drug, and they all say the same thing. They were shocked by how quickly they were able to overcome COVID,” the governor explained.

Health officials say it's best to consult with your healthcare provider to see if this is the best route for you. For now, it's best to continue to wear your mask and social distance.