AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed he has tested positive for COVID-19. His office said that he is isolating at the Governor's Mansion and that he is receiving the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment.
The news has brought up several questions for KVUE viewers and social media users: What is the treatment? Can anyone infected with COVID-19 receive it? How much does it cost?
The Regeneron COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment is a combination of two antibodies given to patients through an IV, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA issued an emergency use authorization of the treatment in November 2020.
It's known to help those who get the virus by decreasing the chances of hospitalization by 80% using the two antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab, which work together to fight off the virus.
The treatment is intended for anyone infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, regardless of vaccination status and is typically used within 10 days of developing COVID-19 symptoms.
In addition to Gov. Greg Abbott, at least one other high-profile politician has utilized the treatment: It was used to treat former President Donald Trump when he was hospitalized with COVID-19 in 2020.
But due to how long and strenuous the manufacturing process is, there aren't as many treatments accessible to the average American.
According to the New York Times, doses of the treatment are available for free, but some patients could pay a fee for administering the drug. It's up to insurance coverage and health care providers.
As of January, the federal government ordered 1.5 million doses of the drug from Regeneron and shipped out nearly 300,000 of those. But it's unclear how many treatments have been given to patients. Hospitals may be prioritizing vaccines, run out of the monoclonal treatment or administer the treatment sparingly due to lack of doses, according to the Times.
Texans interested in getting the treatment can call the 24-hour State Infusion Hotline at 1-800-742-5990 or use the National Infusion Center Association locator tool.
Gov. Abbott's office released the following statement on Thursday:
“Gov. Abbott’s doctor prescribed Regeneron's monoclonal antibody therapy treatment, which is available at no cost to all Texans who get a doctor’s referral. It is recommended that Texans testing positive for COVID-19 seek this antibody therapeutic drug because of its effectiveness to help keep people out of hospitals. Today, the governor announced the continued expansion of COVID-19 Antibody Infusion Centers across Texas. That is in addition to more than 140 providers that are providing antibody treatment at hospitals and clinics across the state.”
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