Just last week, the governor opened five new (but useless) monoclonal antibody treatment sites across the state, and boy has he got Floridians fooled.
This after a shitshow press conference in Fort Lauderdale in early January, where he spent much of his time (alongside his stunningly anti-science surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo) dismissing COVID-19 vaccines as a help, downplaying the severity of symptoms of the omicron variant, and complaining about how the federal government isn’t giving him the monoclonal treatment meds he’s convinced he needs.
The FDA revised authorizations for REGEN-COV, also known as Regeneron, the brand name for a combination of the drugs bamlanivimab and etesevimab, because it doesn’t work for omicron. Is the Florida governor thick?
The medicines can be used for patients with other variants of COVID-19, variants they respond to, but since over 99% of COVID cases in the U.S. are omicron, it simply doesn’t make sense. But that doesn’t stop old Ronnie from holding on like a dog to a bone.
“This (treatment) is something that they claim shouldn’t be used because we have omicron, and what we would say in Florida is, we have had people use it, and we’ve had good results,” DeSantis said as if he’s ever done anything in the medical or scientific field.
“It’s not 100%—we understand that—but you also don’t even know when someone goes in whether it’s omicron or still the delta. Yes, mostly in Florida it’s going to be omicron at this point, but it’s really a reckless decision to be able to take this option away from patients.”
Despite the fact that there is no test for variant, a sampling of wastewater treatment plants in Central Florida found no trace of any other COVID-19 variant other than omicron.
But, DeSantis just doesn’t want to give up. It’s almost as if he doesn’t want Floridians to be tested or vaccinated… hmmm. Maybe that’s why he hid—I mean discovered a million testing kits stockpiled and then expired in a warehouse while people waited hours in line for testing during the holidays. At the time, he had been MIA for weeks.
“But even if with omicron it’s half as effective or even 25% as effective—that’s better than nothing for people,” DeSantis said. “As I’ve said, anecdotally, we’ve had people that have had their symptoms resolved after doing it just in the last month of doing this. So this is wrong what [the FDA] are doing.”
Could I suggest that DeSantis read about his beloved Regeneron and the tests by German actual scientists that clearly report that it doesn’t work on omicron? Is that too much to ask?
“The neutralizing activity of several monoclonal antibodies is strongly affected against the omicron variant and will limit treatment options for omicron-induced COVID-19,” one of the groups, comprising Cologne and Berlin-based scientists, said in a paper published online in mid-December. Or maybe from the horse’s mouth (not to bring up another sad subject… ivermectin), but Regeneron itself says it doesn’t work on omicron.
“While Regeneron’s currently authorized REGEN-COV antibodies have diminished potency against omicron, they are active against delta, which currently is the most prevalent variant in the U.S.,” a statement from the company reads.
And of course, DeSantis alleges he’ll be taking his claims to court. When a reporter asks he’d consider suing the FDA to get his cherished monoclonal back, he says, “I don’t know. We’re gonna look, we’re gonna see what we can do.”