Omicron monoclonal antibody treatment in short supply
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — COVID-19 cases in New Mexico are surging.
Health officials said the omicron variant is even more contagious. While there’s some thought it could be less severe, it’s also eliminated some treatment options.
Supply is extremely limited for the one type of monoclonal antibodies treatment that’s effective against omicron. Hospitals are in low supply and state leaders said they have to be selective about who they go to.
The New Mexico Department of Health said they use the CDC’s scoring system to determine if a patient is eligible for the few treatments they have.
“We were surprised to find out that two of our monoclonal antibodies were not effective for omicron but we can expect those kind of surprises all the way down the line,” Dr. David Scrase, NMDOH acting secretary, said.
Now, there’s just one monoclonal antibodies treatment that’s effective against omicron. Sotrovimab is in short supply.
UNM Hospital and Presbyterian wouldn’t say how many doses they have right now.
A shipment is expected to arrive Thursday – doses have been allocated around the state, including 48 for metro-area hub hospitals. That’s 12 doses for Lovelace, 18 doses for UNM Hospital and 18 doses for Presbyterian.
Other doses are spread around the state, particularly in areas with a high Social Vulnerability Index.
“There is a scoring system. We did send it out to all of our providers and basically, I’ll just give you a general idea, if you’re at risk of things, they’re assigned points," Scrase said.
It can even include things like access to medical resources, homelessness and food insecurity. Hitting a certain number will make a patient eligible for those treatment options.
“Anytime, in medicine, that there’s a scarce resource we always triage so we’re kind of used to this,” Scrase said.
Officials are hopeful the supply chain and distribution levels will rebound soon. State health leaders anticipate things will improve in about three to four weeks.
Officials also want to remind the public to ask about the oral therapeutics that can be used to treat the omicron variant.
KOB 4 reached out to UNM to ask about supply:
"UNM Health works with our partners at the state and federal levels for COVID-19 treatments and some of these treatments, like products in many industries right now, are in short supply and experiencing supply chain interruptions,” said a spokesperson for UNM Health in an email Thursday.
We would like to remind New Mexicans that the best way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 is to get yourself and your eligible children vaccinated and get boosted when eligible. You can find a vaccine clinic at vaccinenm.org."
Presbyterian shared this statement with KOB 4:
“Severe national shortages have intersected with unprecedented demand for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapies. Right now, Presbyterian has a very limited supply of Sotrovimab, which is allocated to us each week by the state,” said Dr. Arand Pierce, Medical Director, infusion services, Presbyterian Healthcare Services in an email Thursday.
"In addition, New Mexico also has a limited supply of two oral antiviral therapies for some high-risk patients who qualify. This week, Presbyterian also started to offer Remdesivir in an outpatient setting. This is another option for some COVID-19 patients with mild-moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progression to severe disease, but they must be treated within 7 days.”