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‘Do not bank on being able to get to therapeutics when you need it’: Indiana has limited COVID-19 treatment supply

Posted at 12:03 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 00:03:11-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Supplies of COVID-19 treatments are limited, according to Indiana’s top health officials.

“While it is encouraging to see science continue to develop to meet the challenges that COVID throws our way, it's important to remember that there is simply not enough medicine to go around right now. And do not bank on being able to get a therapeutic when you need it,” Indiana’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lindsay Weaver said. “It will take time to increase supplies and distribute these treatments and none of them are 100% effective.”

The best protection against the virus, Dr. Weaver adds, is to get vaccinated.

Antiviral Pills
Merck – Molnupiravir
Research shows this antirviral pill cuts back severe disease by 30% and like Pfizer’s pill, works best when taken within five days of symptoms starting.
The antiviral pill is available for those 18 and older at an increased risk of severe COVID “and for whom alternative COVID treatment options are not accessible or clinically appropriate” to treat mild to moderate disease.
The state allocated 4,880 courses to CVS and Walmart pharmacies.

Pfizer – Paxlovid
The recently approved FDA antiviral pill is thought to reduce death and hospitalizations by 89%. It is thought to work best within five days of symptoms beginning and is available for those 12 and older “at high risk of severe COVID.”
Hospitals received the state’s first shipment of 1,060 courses.

Antiviral Drug
Gilead Veklury – Remdesivir
The IV infusion is used in those 12 and older. Research shows hospitalizations and death drop 87% during a three-day course of the drug “in high-risk COVID patients early in illness…”
Drug can be directly ordered by providers.

Monoclonal Antibody
GlaxoSmithKline – Sotrovimab
Those twelve and older are eligible for the infusion to treat mild to moderate COVID.
It is important to note, the infusion cannot be used in those requiring oxygen treatment for COVID or who are hospitalized with the disease.
This is the only antibody treatment effective against omicron. Both hospitals and infusion clinics receive this drug from the state, but supplies remain limited.

Eli Lilly – Bamlanivimab and etesevimab
The Eli Lilly drug is used to treat mild to moderate disease “in all individuals at risk of severe COVID.”
Shipments will stop on Monday as it is not effective against omicron.

Rengeneron – REGEN-COV
The IV infusion is used in those 12 and older for treatment and post-exposure prevention.
Shipments will stop on Monday as it is not effective against omicron.

AstraZeneca – Evusheld
This is a preventative COVID-19 treatment effective in those 12 and older with either:

  • Immunosuppressed or living with a compromised immune system
  • Vaccine not recommended due to history of adverse reactions

The two injections are for those not recently exposed or infected with COVID-19. Both transplant centers and cancer centers were provided with the first 984 courses through the state.

All of the treatments will need a prescription.

“If you have received an order for monoclonal antibody treatment and need help finding an infusion center you can call 211. They can help you find a location and put you in contact with the center, which is responsible for scheduling the treatment,” Dr. Weaver said.

The IDOH now houses a treatment map on its website.

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