Evusheld an option for the immunocompromised
AUSTIN, Texas — A new monoclonal antibody treatment called Evusheld for immunocompromised people has been available to providers and patients since early January, but health experts in Texas say people aren’t asking for it.
In a study by John Hopkins, it was found that only 17% of immunocompromised people produce antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine. Evusheld could save the lives of those who don’t.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the treatment in late December. It is different from sotrovimab for people who currently have a mild to moderate case of COVID and who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID.
The feds are rationing supplies, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem yet. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, it currently has more supply than requested by vendors.
This week, 3,912 courses were sent to Texas this week, and there were 432 supplier requests for the product.
“We have enough of this drug right now in the state,” said Dr. David Lakey, a member of the Texas Medical Association‘s COVID-19 task force. “It’s just not being used to the extent that it should be. People don’t ask for it. »
At the end of January, the federal government shipped 400,000 doses, with 1.2 million doses ordered. About 7 million immunocompromised people could benefit from the drug, all of whom are at higher risk of having a severe case of COVID-19.
“When we look in hospitals at who has serious illness with COVID-19, it’s patients who are unvaccinated and vaccinated patients who are immunocompromised,” said Dr. Debra Patt, executive vice president of Texas Oncology.
Elizabeth Whitley is immunocompromised. She takes drugs that weaken her immune system following a kidney transplant. She thought her saving grace would be the COVID-19 vaccine, but after taking the vaccine multiple times, she had no antibodies to show.
“This indicates that my blood sample taken on 11-8 of last year was negative for COVID antibodies,” Whitley said, reading her COVID-19 vaccine results for antibodies.
The results were part of the Johns Hopkins study. The medication Whitley takes after a kidney transplant makes her immune-compromised.
“You have to take medication so you don’t reject your organ,” Whitley said.
More than 7 million people across the country fall into the immunocompromised category, but now, like Elizabeth, they can resume a semi-normal life with Evusheld.
“Some patients may still not have an adequate immune response,” Dr. Debra Patt said, referring to the COVID-19 vaccine response. “Evusheld can help to be more protective.”
According to the FDA, it has a 77% reduction rate in developing symptomatic COVID symptoms for immunocompromised individuals.
“We’re basically trying to find Evushelds for him,” Whitley said, referencing a conversation she had with someone on social media.
Whitley posted about the antibody treatment on her social media pages, reaching others in her position. With each post, Whitley says she’s getting one step closer to protecting more people and saving lives.
“I really hope this new drug does something not just for me, but for people like me,” Whitley said.