Health

Evusheld an option for immunocompromised

AUSTIN, Texas – A new monoclonal antibody treatment called Evusheld for the immunocompromised has been available to providers and patients since early January, but health experts in Texas say people are not asking for it.

In a John Hopkins study, it was found that only 17% of immunocompromised people produce antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine. Evusheld can save the lives of those who do not.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the treatment in late December. It is different from Sotrovimab for people who currently have a mild to moderate case of COVID and are at high risk for severe COVID disease.

The federal government is rationing the supply, but it still does not seem to be a problem. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, it currently has more supply available than requested by providers.

This week, 3,912 courses were shipped to Texas this week, and there have been 432 requests from providers for the product.

“We now have enough of this medicine in the state,” said Drs. David Lakey, member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force. “It just isn’t used to the extent it should be. People don’t ask for it.”

Evusheld offer. (Elizabeth Whitley)

At the end of January, the federal government sent 400,000 doses, with 1.2 million doses ordered. About 7 million people who are immunocompromised can benefit from the drug, all with a higher risk of a serious case of COVID-19.

“When we look at the hospitals that have serious diseases with COVID-19, it is patients who are not vaccinated, and patients who are vaccinated who are immunocompromised,” said Drs. Debra Patt, Executive Vice President of Texas Oncology.

Elizabeth Whitley is immune compromised. She is taking medication that suppresses her immune system after a kidney transplant. She thought her saving grace would be the COVID-19 vaccine, but after taking the shot multiple times, she had no antidotes to see.

“It says my blood sample collection at 11-8 from last year was negative for COVID antibodies,” said Whitley, reading her COVID-19 vaccine results for antibodies.

The results were part of John Hopkins’ study. The medication Whitley is taking post-kidney transplant makes her immune compromised.

“You need to take medication so as not to infect your organ,” Whitley said.

More than 7 million people across the country fall into the category of immunocompromised, but now they, like Elizabeth, can return to a semi-normal life with Evusheld.

“Some patients may not yet have an adequate immune response,” said Drs. Debra Patt, referring to response to the COVID-19 vaccine. “Evusheld can help to be extra protective.”

According to the FDA, it has a 77% reduction in the development of symptomatic COVID symptoms for the immunocompromised.

“We’re basically trying to find her some Evusheld,” Whitley said, referring to a conversation she had with someone on social media.

Whitley posted about the treatment of antibodies on her pages on social media, and reached out to others in her position. With each post, Whitley says she’s one step closer to protecting more people and saving lives.

“I really hope this new medicine will do something not only for me, but for people like me,” Whitley said.

Evusheld an option for immunocompromised

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