Today’s Infectious Disease News (1/2/23)

Limited COVID-19 Treatment Options Endangers Patients, Particularly Immunocompromised People

COVID-19 has adapted to currently available monoclonal antibodies, leaving patients with a limited array of treatments. Omicron variants became resistant to the antibody treatments by changing the virus’s spike proteins to which antibodies bind. As a result the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revoked emergency use authorizations for all antibody treatments. Paxlovid, an antiviral medication, remains as one of the only tools to fight COVID-19 infections. Although it is highly effective and easier to administer than monoclonal antibodies, the drug is not an option for some people because it interacts with many other medications. Convalescent plasma is another treatment for COVID-19 patients with weakened immune systems. Despite showing promise in some cases, it is not widely accessible across the country. Convalescent plasma is not simple to administer, and blood-typing is necessary to ensure the donor and patient are compatible. An additional option is the antiviral Remdesivir, which must be given intravenously. Patients can receive the IVs at a hospital or through outpatient providers. Public health experts are urging governments and pharmaceutical companies to invest in new COVID-19 therapies. Next generation drugs are needed to protect vulnerable patients from severe illness and death. “Just because we have exited the emergency phase of the pandemic does not mean that Covid is over or that it no longer poses a danger,” said Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University and former Baltimore Health Commissioner. “There are millions of Americans who are vulnerable to severe illness.”

Full Story: Politico