TAMPA, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday the state has 15,000 more doses of monoclonal antibody drug, Regeneron. However, medical experts say it does not work against the omicron variant.
"None of the three monoclonals that are in the Regeneron cocktail show any activity whatsoever against the omicron variant," Dr. Thomas Unnasch, a distinguished health professor at The University of South Florida, said. "Zero activity.”
Unnasch cites four studies published in December that show Regeneron has no effect in preventing an omicron infection. Eli Lilly, the company that created the treatment, admitted the same after its own tests of Regeneron.
The medication has proven to be effective against the delta variant, but Unnasch says delta accounts for less than 1% of coronavirus cases in Florida. The remaining 99% is occupied by omicron.
Now, Eli Lilly is develping a new antibody treatment to fight omicron, but it may be another month or two before one is approved for clinical use. Unnasch expects the latest variant to peak in the next seven to 10 days.
“By the time that monoclonal comes along, omicron is going to be history and God knows what we’ll have coming up the other side," he said.
Unnasch suggests the best defense against omicron, and any more variants to come is a KN-95 mask coupled with the vaccine.