Omicron May Sideline Two Leading Drugs Against COVID-19

Dr. Aldo Calvo, Medical Director of Family Medicine at Broward Health, shows a Regeneron monoclonal antibody infusion bag during a news conference, Aug. 19, 2021 at the Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. As strained U.S. hospitals brace for a new surge of omicron COVID-19 cases, doctors are warning of yet another challenge: the two standard drugs they’ve used to treat early coronavirus infections are unlikely to work against the new variant. For more than a year antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly have been the go-to treatments for COVID-19, thanks to their ability to head off severe disease and keep patients out of the hospital. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

(AP) — The rapidly-spreading omicron variant may soon leave U.S. doctors without two of the standard treatments they’ve used to fight COVID-19.

Antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly have been the go-to drugs to keep patients out of the hospital. But the drugmakers have warned that their infused medications are far less potent against the latest variant.

A third drug from GlaxoSmithKline appears more effective. But it’s not widely available in the U.S. For now, federal officials are stockpiling doses for use in coming weeks. Experts predict omicron could dominate the U.S. outbreak by early next year.


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