LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Just one monoclonal antibody drug works against the Omicron variant of COVID-19, and it's in short supply nationwide.
There are three monoclonal antibody treatments (mAb) FDA authorized for COVID-19.
Sotrovimab, the only mAb known to be effective against omicron, is extremely difficult to get a hold of. The state health department says supply in Kentucky will be extremely limited, and many treatment locations may not have monoclonal antibodies to offer at their sites.
"It's just like any part of the supply chain. There's the amount of time and energy it takes to produce the product and they get it out and there's a lot of people demanding it," said Phillip Almeter, Chief Pharmacy Officer for University of Kentucky Healthcare.
Almeter says every hospital will handle the shortage differently.
"I think the best thing for anybody out there is to be vaccinated and, you know, wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash your hands," he said.
St. Claire HealthCare announced all requests for the treatment are now on hold because their supply is depleted.
They're not the only hospital juggling supply.
"We really hadn't used much of it at all before the advent of omicron. The government apparently hadn't contracted for much of it and right now, it looks like everyone's going to pretty much be out of it this week. As far as I can tell, when I call around to different places, I think there's almost none left," said infectious disease specialist Mark Dougherty with Baptist Health.
Dougherty says the immunocompromised, unvaccinated, and unboosted will be impacted most.
Without knowing when they'll get resupplied, add in sick staff, and other medical shortages Dougherty says the system is under extreme stress.