Terry H. Schwadron

Sept 20, 2021

Other than through promotion by Republican politicians, it is all a bit of a mystery why the vaccine-resistant are turning in big numbers instead to the use of injections of monoclonal antibodies.

Republican governors including Ron DeSantis of Florida are not only pushing infusions of antibodies as an alternative treatment to covid vaccines, but complaining bitterly now that the federal government is acceding to his suggestion and trying to distribute it to other states, in DeSantis’ mind, at least, taking some of the desired treatments away from Florida for other areas.

It’s been a consistent theme of from anti-vaxxers that government mandates for vaccine are sapping individual liberty, and many believe that the vaccines are somehow flawed, under-tested, inconvenient, or cause us magically to pledge allegiance to Bill Gates or for our foreheads to become magnetized.

In short, the reasons are all over the map, but all in anti-vaxx land hate mandates. But they appear to like heavy suggestion from DeSantis and other Republican leaders, including Donald Trump, for the use of alternatives after they have been found to have covid — from horse de-wormers to bleach and now to actual medicine, the monoclonal antibody infusions that Trump himself got as an experimental treatment last year. By contrast with the nuttier stuff, antibody infusion is a recognized medical treatment to supplement the body’s own immune systems, and hospitals are scrambling for sufficient amounts to cover the ever-rising covid cases filling their ICUs.

So, what we are hearings is NO to vaccines, but YES to treatments that might forestall death, and the material for those treatments ought to be more available in my state than in yours. Elect me.

Exploding Demand

There are several aspects to notice here, however, as orders for monoclonal antibodies zoomed from 27,000 nationally in July to 168,000 in August.

· To be eligible for the antibodies, you’ve already got covid, and likely are among the serious cases overwhelming hospitals again.

· The cost of these $2,000 infusions is about 100 times as much as the vaccine, by which you could have avoided getting covid in the first place.

· Seven Southern states are using 70 percent of the available supply, with Joe Biden warning that there are shortages ahead until new purchases are available this winter.

· The use of monoclonal antibodies is a year-old, laboratory-created drug considered no less experimental for covid that the vaccines themselves. Why this approach has the blessing of Republican governors while vaccines do not is a head-scratcher.

· The use of immunotherapies to stimulate the body’s own resources has been around for a generation and is a staple of cancer chemo treatments, among others.

Nevertheless, as The New York Times noted, “Amid a din of antivaccine falsehoods, monoclonal antibodies have become the rare coronavirus medicine to achieve near-universal acceptance. Championed by mainstream doctors and conservative radio hosts alike, the infusions have kept the country’s death toll — 2,000 per day and climbing — from soaring even higher.”

Distribution Change

In any case, DeSantis and company, which had been pursuing its broad criticism of the Biden administration for promoting, then mandating vaccines, and calling out the unvaccinated, now is hammering away anew over a change in the overhauling the distribution of monoclonal antibodies.

This week, we heard from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the agency will decide how many doses each state will receive and leave it to state governments to ration it out among locations.

That prompted Republican governors to decry that their states will suffer. DeSantis took the lead, announcing that the change will severely hamper the treatment’s availability in Republican-controlled states. Previously, distribution sites could order the antibody treatments directly from the supplier.

DeSantis credited Biden with hiking the manufacture of monoclonal antibody treatments but said the HHS’ new equitable distribution plan for monoclonal antibodies is “very, very problematic” and warned patients “are going to suffer as a result of this.”

Medical officials in Republican states said they feared it will further overwhelm hospitals dealing with a deluge of covid patients, The Alabama Medical Association, for example, voiced alarm saying they want more, not less of the treatment “so we can save lives and keep COVID patients out of the hospital.” That’s curious only because the way to keep people out of the hospital at this point seems to be to support the mandates for vaccination in schools, businesses, transportation facilities and large gatherings.

OK, so what we understand here is that Democrats, Republicans, vaccinated and unvaccinated, can get behind a program that treats people once they become sick, but not necessarily before they get sick. Thus, the opening of school is meeting with a substantial number of nearly immediate shutdowns as militantly ferocious anti-vaxx forces descend on school officials to oppose masks and vaccine mandates, some police unions are fighting city mandates, and the public resistance battles go on.

Antibodies are getting better PR than vaccines. No one is talking about the friend of a cousin in Trinidad whose testicles swelled after an antibody treatment.

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www.terryschwadron.wordpress.com

Journalist, musician, community volunteer