Ron DeSantis will allow monoclonal antibodies to be administered as an early treatment for the deadly disease in central Florida, on Aug. 16.
The Florida governor confirmed a rapid response unit is already delivering monoclonal antibody treatments to Camping World Stadium, 2 miles west of downtown Orlando. The therapy will be administered free of charge to COVID-19 patients.
Speaking at a news conference with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, DeSantis revealed it is time to think about all ways to treat the virus. He believes it is not a good idea to only rely on vaccines, especially after they failed to significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
“The protection against severe illness is holding but it is not bringing on herd immunity,” he said, according to WESH. “The unvaccinated are still much more likely to be admitted to hospitals.”
The Republican urged those who tested positive for COVID-19 to seek treatment early because it is less effective for those with serious symptoms, or have already been admitted to the hospital.
The venue will treat up to 320 patients a day and stay open seven days a week. The governor also promised to open more locations across the Sunshine State.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency authorization for the treatment on Aug. 10. However, the FDA warned antibodies cannot substitute COVID-19 vaccines.
Monoclonal antibodies are created in a laboratory. They behave similarly to naturally occurring antibodies in response to infections. They can be used to treat patients, aged 12 and older, who have mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
DeSantis previously launched a similar mobile unit in downtown Jacksonville on Aug. 12.
“There are clear benefits to this early treatment for keeping people out of the hospital and reducing mortality,” he said according to First Coast News. “This has just got to become part of the standard of care as you go forward. This is going to be with us for a long time.”
“Monoclonal antibody treatments such as Regeneron are an effective early treatment for COVID-19, and have shown to reduce hospitalizations by 70 percent,” he added on Twitter.
Monoclonal antibody treatments such as Regeneron are an effective early treatment for COVID-19 and have shown to reduce hospitalizations by 70%. pic.twitter.com/XkmsOS3UeF— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) August 15, 2021
Authorities confirmed infected patients can receive treatments regardless of vaccination status according to the National Public Radio. Former President Donald Trump was treated with Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody after contracting the deadly disease last fall.
Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Simone Marstiller confirmed the treatment is highly effective.
Marstiller’s daughter significantly recovered from COVID-19 just two days after being treated. The patient had a fever of up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature fell to 99.6 the following morning.
“The results of this treatment can be dramatic,” the secretary said according to WESH. “It is true and I have seen it.”
DeSantis stressed the monoclonal antibody can serve as a critical tool in fighting COVID-19.