TAMPA, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis joined leaders from Tampa General Hospital (TGH) and the University of South Florida (USF) Health Morsani College of Medicine to discuss the efficacy of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 patients.
The full video of the event can be found here.
“Although monoclonal antibodies have been used in earnest for almost all of 2021, they have not received much attention,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The results have been very positive, but the key is having patients receiving it in time, early enough in the infection to neutralize the virus. They provide your body an ability to fight back against the virus and results from the trials were a 70% reduction in hospitalization or death.”
Excerpts from the event include:
“The Governor is absolutely spot on,” said John Couris, President and CEO of Tampa General. “This is a therapy that is effective, but this is a therapy that is less known. This is a therapy that needs to be taken advantage of and Tampa General Hospital, USF and our private practice physicians are using it very successfully on positive COVID-19 patients.”
“We were the first system in Florida to offer monoclonal antibodies to COVID patients,” said Dr. Kami Kim, MD, from TGH and USF Morsani College of Medicine. “So far we have treated over 1,600 patients with monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID. These treatments, as Governor DeSantis, Dean Lockwood and Mr. Couris said, prevent the virus from infecting our cells. You probably heard them called ‘neutralizing antibodies’ and that is because they neutralize the virus. That’s a pretty powerful treatment against the virus that is very effective in our own studies and in studies across the country.”
“Vaccinations protect you from hospitalization, from death and from long-term COVID symptoms by about 90%,” said Dr. Charles Lockwood, MD, Dean, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. “If you have been vaccinated, you have about a 70% protection against mild to moderate infections.”
During today’s event, Dr. Charles Lockwood also indicated that this summer’s wave of COVID is more similar to an influenza season for those who have been vaccinated. Additionally, John Couris, President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital, emphasized that their facility is open for all patients, including for routine and elective procedures.
Dr. Kami Kim from TGH and USF Morsani College of Medicine stated that it is important to receive monoclonal antibody treatments early on once contracting COVID, generally within seven days of when symptoms appear.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance or mimic the immune system’s attack on cells. Monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 may block the virus that causes COVID-19 from attaching to human cells, making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm. Monoclonal antibodies may also neutralize a virus.