Covid-19 monoclonal antibody treatments are being "underutilized," according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. And now, HHS officials are urging the public to use these therapies to treat illness.
The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibody treatments for emergency use in Covid-19 patients.
"The bottom line is these medications work better, they work best when given early," US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said during a briefing on Thursday.
"So if you have Covid symptoms or if you’ve had a high risk exposure, we need you to get tested right away," Adams said. "And if you test positive, we need you to ask your provider about monoclonal antibodies as a way of keeping you out of the hospital.”
Dr. Janet Woodcock, therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, said in Thursday's briefing that those medications "are being somewhat underutilized" and HHS hopes to change that.
"The antibodies are not in shortage," Woodcock said.
"We want to keep people out of the hospital," she said. "We hope the changes that we’re making -- better public awareness and better provider awareness -- will drive more administration of these antibodies."
Last month, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that the United States has "a surplus" of monoclonal antibody treatments from the companies Regeneron and Eli Lilly.