A treatment effective at battling the early stages of a COVID-19 infection has come into short supply as demand nationwide has spiked alongside COVID-19 case spikes. In Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, doses of monoclonal antibodies will be rationed week by week.
This week, Ohio is only set to receive around 3,600 doses of the treatment. Indiana will receive roughly 3,000 and Kentucky will receive 4,960. Last week, Governor Andy Beshear said Kentucky administered more than 5,000 doses of monoclonal antibodies.
"We're already seeing hospitals and other providers run out before the end of each week," said Beshear during a news conference on Monday.
State officials will let the public know where in Kentucky the treatments are available, but Beshear has cautioned in the past that those seeking the treatment in lieu of receiving a vaccine should reconsider as shortages worsen.
"First, let me tell you, infusion is a lot more invasive," said Beshear. "So I would say please, knowing that there's not going to be enough anywhere in the Commonwealth, get that vaccine."
The treatment has proven to be effective for patients within three days of a positive COVID-19 test. The patient has to have experienced fewer than 10 days of symptoms as well. The treatment is also only available for patients with a high risk condition, such as age or a compromised immune system.
The monoclonal antibody treatment must be used early, because the synthetic antibodies attack the spike proteins on a COVID-19 virus, preventing it from latching onto a healthy cell.
"Quite frankly, in 18 months of this, this is the best therapy we have to treat mild to moderate disease, the best, and the data is very strong," said Dr. Dora Savani, with St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
Beshear said each Monday hospitals will need to report the amount of antibody infusions they need and the state will decide which hospitals receive the treatment and how many.