On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Florida is increasing the availability of monoclonal antibody therapies by opening a rapid response unit to administer this lifesaving treatment in Jacksonville.
In the coming days, the state will be exploring an additional long-term location at the Jacksonville Public Library, as well as other locations throughout the state.
“I am proud to announce the opening of this rapid response unit to offer lifesaving monoclonal antibody therapies for Floridians,” said DeSantis. “We also look forward to setting up a long-term site at the Jacksonville Public Library and additional long-term sites across the state. These treatments have been proven successful, with clinical trials resulting in a 70 percent reduction in hospitalization and death for COVID patients.”
Additionally, monoclonal antibody strike teams are being developed to bring treatment directly to Florida’s vulnerable populations in long-term care facilities. Rather than having nursing home residents leave the facility to receive monoclonal antibody therapy, these teams will deploy to them to provide treatment.
“The Division of Emergency Management is proud to join Governor DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health to secure access to the monoclonal antibody treatment throughout the state for Floridians,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie. “Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, we are committed to working alongside DOH as we continue to identify and deploy all available resources for the treatment of COVID-19 to local governments and hospitals.”
“These monoclonal antibody therapy sites will expand access to proven effective COVID-19 treatment,” said FDEM Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth Scheppke. “The treatment reduces severe illness, hospitalization and death risk by 70 percent, and reduces the odds of household contacts developing COVID-19 by 82 percent. Monoclonal antibody therapy helps prevent the COVID-19 virus from attaching to human cells, and is effective against variants of concern, including the Delta variant. Thank you to Governor DeSantis for his continued dedication to innovative and multi-faceted solutions as we have responded to COVID-19.”
Monoclonal antibody treatments can be prescribed by health care providers to individuals 12 years of age and older who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are at high risk for severe illness and hospitalization. The antibodies help the immune system recognize and respond effectively to the virus.
According to the treatment guidelines, they should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis, and within 10 days of symptom onset. By providing access to these treatments at these new sites, DeSantis is alleviating demand on hospital resources and further making sure that Floridians have access to all potential treatments that can help them recover from COVID-19.