On Monday, August 16, Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference with the Florida Division of Emergency Management where he announced that monoclonal antibody treatment sites for COVID-19 would soon be popping up in Central Florida. According to WKMG, one of the sites to administer treatments free of cost to patients will be the GuideWell Emergency Doctors clinic located in Lakeside Shopping Center at 113 Orlando Ave. in Winter Park.
During the press conference, the governor stated that monoclonal antibody treatments, such as those manufactured by Regeneron, have been proven to reduce symptoms of COVID-19 and the chances of being admitted to the hospital. Locals should note that monoclonal antibody treatment will be available for those diagnosed with or who have tested positive for COVID-19. Also, this treatment is not an alternative to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The protection [of the vaccine] against severe illness is holding, but it is not bringing on herd immunity,” DeSantis said. “The unvaccinated are still much more likely to be admitted to hospitals.”
On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients. According to the FDA, patients qualified for the testing are at least 12 years of age and older, weighing at least 88 pounds with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.
“This includes, for example, individuals who are 65 years of age and older or individuals who have certain medical conditions,” the FDA wrote on its website.
In addition to the early treatment sites in Winter Park, GuideWell will also offer its services for appointments or walk-in patients at locations in Ocoee and Orlando at Camping World Stadium. According to DeSantis, the stadium will be available to patients seven days a week and can treat approximately 320 patients per day.
On August 23, the FDA announced its first full approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine, which is commonly known as the Pfizer vaccine.
“The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older,” the FDA stated. “The vaccine also continues to be available under EUA, including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.”
Patients looking for more information should see the list of resources listed below,