Drugs used to treat COVID discontinued

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 1:14 AM EST
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Monoclonal antibody treatments gained notoriety throughout the country for its success in treating COVID-19 patients.

Now, the FDA has discontinued two of the drugs used in those treatments.

The first set is Bamlaninivimab and Etesevimab, in short called Bam. The second set of drugs are known as REGEN-COV. These two drugs were instrumental in alleviating symptoms and for some people it saved their lives.

“Maybe two hours afterwards, I felt like a brand new person. It was like most of the symptoms were gone,” said Bob Johnson

Only hours after getting a monoclonal antibody infusion, Johnson says he saw an almost complete recovery.

“I was a little skeptical that this wouldn’t help, but you know at that point, you’ll try anything. So, once I start feeling better on the ride back, I was happy I did it,” said Johnson.

Johnson received one of the two sets of drugs known as Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab known as BAM or REGEN-COV which Pharmacy Director for Phoebe Sumter Medical Center Darryll Hawkins says are proteins that act as immune system boosters.

“It mimics your immune system and it kind of just beefs up your body’s response to fight off the virus,” Hawkins explained.

A recovery Hawkins says helped lower a great number of hospitalizations in Americus.

“So, we were giving out both of those at our outpatient treatment area - anywhere from 10-30 a day,” he revealed.

However, a new variant changed things up.

The FDA discontinued BAM and REGEN-COV once they saw it’s inability to treat the Omicron variant.

This making way for a new FDA-approved monoclonal treatment called Sotrovimab.

“They all work the same way. It’s just their effectiveness is currently being studied to see what’s more effective,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins says Phoebe Sumter Medical Center is waiting on another monoclonal antibody drug and they hope to have it next week.

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