About 30,000 doses of an experimental coronavirus treatment are shipping out Tuesday.
It's Regeneron's antibody cocktail that got an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the weekend. It’s also the same treatment President Donald Trump got last month.
Patients who are diagnosed early with COVID-19 may be eligible. The goal is to keep them from getting sicker, so they don't have to go to the hospital.
But the treatment still needs to be given through an IV.
“The challenge is there has to be a place to administer it, so a place where you can have COVID patients in an infusion setting where they can be treated and monitored. This is not straight-forward,” said Dr. Helen Boucher, Chief of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Tufts Medical Center.
Any transfusion centers administering the IV will charge for those services.
“The medicine itself is paid for by the government right now under the emergency use authorization. Those other charges have to be managed and they'll be managed by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid,” said Boucher.
It's unclear if patients will need to request the treatment or if doctors will choose who to prescribe it to.
In trying to get it to areas that need it most, the federal government will work with states on distribution. The problem is everywhere is seeing spikes right now.
“We know that at least for 2020, the supply is going to be very low, so many of us in the infectious disease community and all the health care community are concerned that this resource will be allocated in an equitable way,” said Boucher.
After this initial rollout, Regeneron says it expects to have 80,000 doses ready by the end of the month, 200,000 by the first week of January, and then 300,000 by the end of that month.