Governor Abbott rolls out statewide COVID therapy distribution plan for new drug

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AUSTIN (KRLD) - Governor Greg Abbott Friday announced that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is allocating an initial shipment of bamlanivimab, the Eli Lilly & Company monoclonal antibody therapy, to be distributed as early as next week to acute care hospitals across every geographic region of the state. These weekly shipments of doses have been provided to the state at no cost through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

DSHS will allocate this initial distribution of bamlanivimab based on three criteria: new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community, new lab-confirmed COVID-19 admissions to hospitals, and total lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

"This initial allotment of bamlanivimab will help health care professionals effectively treat cases of COVID-19 within their communities and aid in reducing hospitalizations," said Governor Abbott. "I thank the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for providing Texas with this crucial antibody therapy that will help keep Texans safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Jan Patterson of UT Health-San Antonio says the drug has the potential to be a game-changer, especially in fighting early stages of COVID-19. She said, “This a laboratory produced antibodies that serve to act like an immune system that prevents an attack on cells by the virus.”

Bamlanivimab is for outpatient use in people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at increased risk of severe disease. It has been shown to prevent hospitalizations in some patients when used before they become very sick.