MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference on Thursday to talk about monoclonal antibody treatments available throughout Florida and how they have made a difference to people suffering from COVID-19 around the state.

“There were a lot that didn’t know about the monoclonal antibodies that were available, so we went around, made sure to raise the recognition but also wanted to increase access so we ended up setting up 25 different sites throughout the state of Florida,” said DeSantis at a news conference in Fort Myers. “We’ve now done I think 135,000 treatments of individuals throughout the state since the middle of August and this is something that filled a huge need and really the results speak for themselves. Since we established our monoclonal antibody program in the middle of August, the 7-day average of hospital admissions has fallen over 50 consecutive days. It’s now fallen over 80%. These are the daily people that are going in, clearly the whole purpose of these monoclonals is keep people out of the hospital let them recover.”

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Monoclonal antibodies are man-made proteins that act like human antibodies in the immune system to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses.

They are used for many different kinds of diseases, including autoimmune diseases from Crohn’s disease to psoriasis and cancer therapy, according to FIU infectious disease specialist Dr. Aileen Marty. In terms of COVID-19, there are more than 40 different companies and varieties of monoclonal antibodies that different groups have developed to try and prevent disease from COVID-19.

Gov. DeSantis says monoclonal antibodies have “saved thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people from having to be admitted into the hospital and there’s no question we’ve saved many lives as a result making these treatments accessible to people.”

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Monoclonal antibodies are administered for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age or older), and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19. This includes those who are 65 years or older who have certain chronic medical conditions. High risk patients include the those who are elderly, immunocompromised, morbidly obese, suffer from heart disease, chronic kidney disease, lung conditions and sickle cell.

“And clearly people that have been vaccinated utilize these therapies at really equal levels to people who are not vaccinated and at many of our sites there’s way more people that are vaccinated on a daily basis who are coming in COVID positive and getting the monoclonal antibody treatment, so I think it’s important across the board and I think it’s something that really made a big difference and it is treatable.”

The first monoclonal antibody used in Florida was Regeneron. However, the state started purchasing Sotrovimab directly from the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline after the federal government took control of distribution of COVID-19 treatments produced by other companies.

To find a monoclonal antibody treatment site near you, visit patientportalfl.com to make an appointment.

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More information and a map of other monoclonal antibody sites is available at floridahealthcovid19.gov. You can also call 850-344-9637.

CBSMiami.com Team