A new COVID-19 antibody treatment site is expected to open in Miami-Dade County this week as cases and hospitalizations continue to spike across the state.
During a news conference Thursday, DeSantis touted the use of monoclonal antibody treatments, which are delivered intravenously or by injection and made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the laboratory-made proteins mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. They are geared toward people who are at high risk, such as the elderly and those with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, morbid obesity and sickle cell.
A new treatment site opened in Ormond Beach Thursday, joining Pembroke Pines, Orlando, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach. DeSantis said a site in Miami-Dade County would also open this week, but did not provide further details.
During the news conference, DeSantis also touched on booster shots, saying he is not in a position to advise anyone whether to receive it. His comments come as the Biden administration encourages people who have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to get a third dose eight months after their second shot.
“They haven’t pronounced clinical data yet, so I’m not in a position to tell you to do it,” he said, noting that vaccines were still encouraged and effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
In Pembroke Pines, C.B. Smith Park will start offering the antibody treatment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The site will be able to treat over 300 patients a day.
DeSantis — who has been criticized for opposing mask mandates and vaccine passports — ramped up the call for Floridians to seek out monoclonal antibody treatments in August as coronavirus cases spiked.
“Early treatment with these monoclonal antibodies – Regeneron and others – have proven to radically reduce the chances that somebody ends up being hospitalized,” DeSantis said Monday at a treatment site in Orlando. “Reducing hospital admissions has got to be a top priority.”
The Regeneron drugs, when given within 10 days of initial symptoms, have been shown to cut rates of hospitalization and death by roughly 70%. The vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. have been proven in large, real-world studies to be 95% effective against hospitalization.