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State Leaders Promote Monoclonal Antibody Treatment As COVID-19 Surge Continues

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Chief Medical Officer for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Dr. Kenneth Scheppke, speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody treatment site in The Villages on August 25th. Photo: Gov. Ron DeSantis / facebook

State leaders are touting monoclonal antibodies as a “gamechanger” for the pandemic. But as the COVID-19 surge continues to fill hospital beds and stretch resources– just how much of a difference will this therapy make?

Dr. Kenneth Scheppke, Chief Medical Officer for the Florida Division of Emergency Management and EMS Medical Director with the Florida Department of Health joins Intersection to talk more about monoclonal antibodies and vaccinations. 

Dr. Scheppke, who has been at Governor Ron DeSantis’s side at press conferences across the state announcing the opening of pop-up monoclonal antibody clinics, says monoclonal antibodies are part of the state’s strategy for bringing the surge under control.

He says the FDA granting full authorization to the Pfizer vaccine should help encourage Floridians who were on the fence about the vaccine to get the shot.

“We have a two pronged strategy here, we really need the vaccines on the prevention arm, and then we have the monoclonal is on the treatment arm.”

Scheppke describes monoclonal antibodies as “a big game changer as far as taking the stress off of our hospital, because we can give them a treatment that can keep them from ever needing that hospitalization that’ll actually decrease the load on our hospitals and give our healthcare provider some relief.”

The COVID-19 surge driven by the highly infectious delta variant has sent the cumulative case tally past 3 million, with the state department of health reporting more than 150,000 new cases in the past week. According to the CDC, 43,632 people have died in Florida from COVID-19.

“I think the need is not quite there at this point,” said Dr. Scheppke when asked if the Governor should declare a state of emergency to free up more resources as Florida grapples with the COVID-19 surge.

“But certainly, if there’s any unmet needs, the state stands ready to help.”

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About Matthew Peddie

Matt Peddie