LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As Arkansas deals with another massive spike in COVID-19 cases, the best treatment for the virus is running out.
UAMS revealed that they began Thursday with 16 treatments of monoclonal antibodies, the treatment doctors say is most effective against covid. The hospital ended the day with none.
At Baptist Health’s Little Rock location, the few vials they have are being saved for the most at-risk and severe cases, as recommended by the National Institutes of Health. Between the two medical centers, COVID sufferers who are not hospitalized will not have access to the treatment until larger quantities of antibodies arrive.
Governor Asa Hutchinson in his December 30th weekly briefing first revealed the state’s antibody count was in short supply, saying, “that’s without question.”
He explained that while things like tests can be ordered by the state, monoclonal antibodies are distributed and allocated through the federal government.
“We’ve been getting a consistent level of supply,” Hutchinson explained. “It’s just insufficient.”
Hutchinson has asked for an increased supply, but it’s not clear when those shipments will arrive, or how many treatments will be in each shipment.
Kat Robinson is one of the last who was able to get monoclonal antibodies at UAMS’ clinic, booking an appointment on December 27th and staying for one two-hour treatment.
“I just went for one session,” Robinson said. “By the time the monoclonal antibody treatment was over, I was already starting to feel better.”
She believes it’s “alarming” that there is a shortage, especially with the steep number of cases currently seen around the country.
In the meantime, she recommends those with COVID rest as much as possible, and those without take precautions so they won’t have to be treated. Those include masking up in crowded spaces and getting a booster shot if eligible.