Republican Texas Rep. Pat Fallon is calling on the Biden administration to make monoclonal antibodies available for individual states to purchase as opposed to allocating them through a formula.
With the supply limited, the Biden administration has used a formula based on population and risk factors to distribute the antibodies. Moreover, the administration has refused to distribute the drug to regions where the Omicron variant makes up at least 80% of new COVID-19 cases, citing a decreased effectiveness against the new variant.
Monoclonal antibodies can be injected into COVID-19 patients whose bodies are not naturally producing antibodies to the virus. Then-President Donald Trump received the treatment in 2020 when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers received it in November after testing positive for the virus.
“From the beginning, the Biden Administration’s COVID strategy has been a failure. We should be using every resource at our disposal to fight this virus. Instead of doing so, President Biden is choosing to push a political agenda by denying states direct access to necessary therapies. As we have learned over the past weeks, full vaccination will not stop the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, states should be fully equipped to treat patients post-diagnosis – that means providing ample amounts of monoclonal antibodies,” Fallon said. “I strongly urge the President to consider my request.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki laid blame on states like Florida and Texas for ordering large amounts of the treatment in the fall as the Delta variant surged in the South.
“I understand the need for states to receive equitable treatment in the distribution of monoclonal antibodies but injecting the federal government in the process can only slow it down and add an unnecessary level of bureaucracy in our time of need,” Fallon wrote about the allocation formula.
The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has vowed to speed up the production of the drug. GSK’s antibody version is the only one that has shown success in fighting the Omicron variant.