Michigan expands antibody treatment to cut hospitalizations

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan will expand the use of a COVID-19 treatment in hopes of substantially reducing climbing hospitalizations and deaths.

Additional doses of monoclonal antibodies will be given to hospitals and other providers, which will be asked to add infusion sites.

The treatment has concentrated doses of lab-made antibodies to fight coronavirus infections and is geared toward people who are at high risk for severe symptoms or hospitalization.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday the treatment could save lives.

Preliminary data suggests 6,600 residents have been treated with the antibodies, with 65% reporting feeling better within two days and under 5% requiring hospitalization,

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

From Mark Peterson:

(WNDU) - Two dozen Michigan hospitals are at 90% capacity or greater according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who says more than 18% of all the state’s hospital beds are now occupied by COVID patients.

Whitmer stopped short of imposing any additional social restrictions to stop the spread.  She says that while many states have dropped their face mask mandates, Michigan has not—and that Michigan’s COVID problem is not one of “policy.”

On Wednesday, the governor sought to raise awareness of antibody therapies that are available for free to those COVID patients who are most vulnerable due to pre-existing conditions or weakened immune systems.

“So far more than 6,600 Michiganders have received these treatments since they were approved for emergency use by the FDA in November, and 65% of patients report feeling better in two days, and less than 5% require hospitalization following the treatment,” Whitmer stated.

Whitmer pledged to increase access to such therapeutics, saying about 30% of all people diagnosed with COVID qualify for the treatments at no cost.

Michigan’s chief medical executive said she worked in a hospital emergency room over the weekend.  “We’re trying to take care of patients both with COVID-19 and those who are coming in for other medical issues, and it is really putting a strain on our staff and our resources and our bed space, all which are spread way too thin,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “Patients are again lining our hallways like they were last spring.  The situation is very serious.”

Adnan Munkarah, MD, with Henry Ford Health System said that Henry Ford Hospital had just 75 COVID patients at the beginning of March, but had 550 as of this morning.  “This is almost a six-fold increase in the number of patients within four weeks.”

Copyright 2021 WNDU. All rights reserved.