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Kentucky prioritizing people in need of monoclonal antibody treatment

Norton Healthcare offers the monoclonal antibody treatment at two of its Louisville facilities.
Norton Healthcare offers the monoclonal antibody treatment at two of its Louisville facilities.(Norton Healthcare)
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 7:42 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced a new system to determine who can get monoclonal antibody treatments, coming after a nationwide shortage of the antibodies was announced two weeks ago.

Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack explained the antibodies give patients a temporary immune system boost to prevent cases from becoming severe. People at high risk of being hospitalized are eligible.

“If you have no medical problems, you’re very low priority,” Stack said. “If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, there’s a whole list of things, cancer, active treatment with medication that weakens your immune system. All those things would qualify you.”

The federal government now supervise distribution of a capped number of treatments given to each state from week to week.

Dr. Joseph Flynn, the chief administrative officer of Norton Medical Group, said Norton has been giving about 140 doses of the treatment every day. He said people who qualify haven’t had issues being approved.

“To my knowledge, we haven’t turned anybody away. If they’re eligible, we treat them with this,” he said.

He said only about 10 to 12% of people who received the treatment were eventually hospitalized, but he stressed those were very vulnerable people.

Michele Sawyers got the monoclonal antibody infusion the same week the shortage was announced. She said the treatment did its job and she felt better shortly after receiving it.

Sawyers hopes the shortage doesn’t get worse.

“It is a concern for me because if I were sick with it again, I would really hope that I could get it again if I needed it.”

A list of treatment sites is available here.

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