FDA ends use of two monoclonal antibody treatments that don't work

Photo credit Getty Images | Sarah Silbiger/Stringer

While monoclonal antibody therapies have been effective in fighting COVID-19 infections, a pair of them will be removed from circulation and no longer approved as coronavirus treatments by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.

The reason? They simply don’t work against the omicron variant.

Because of that ineffectiveness the Department of Health and Human Services, which is the distributing body for COVID treatments, has made it known to state health officials via email that those two particular medications will no longer be shipped out, according to the Washington Post.

The two medications in question are manufactured by Eli Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Currently, omicron is the variant responsible for over 99% of all COVID cases in the U.S., and the two treatments “are highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant, which is circulating at a very high frequency throughout the United States,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA.

If the treatments are viable against a future variant of coronavirus, they could be reinstated for medical use.

Other available monoclonal antibody treatments remain viable medications in the fight against COVID, namely Sotrovimab, the medication made by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology, and the different antiviral pills made by Merck and Pfizer.

Monoclonal antibodies are defined by the FDA as artificial proteins that support the immune system by enhancing or mimicking its methods of fighting off viruses.

The move to halt distribution of the two treatments comes after a statement by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis saying he would continue to facilitate their usage because he does not believe them to be ineffective against omicron since they worked on the delta variant.

DeSantis meanwhile continues to rail against vaccine mandates and last week seemed to falsely link the COVID vaccines to infertility, a claim that is supported by zero scientific evidence.