WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials have created a website to help people find where they can get antibody drugs for COVID-19, medicines that may help prevent serious illness and hospitalization if used early enough after infection occurs.
Two of these drugs — from Eli Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals — have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. but red tape, health care staff shortages and other problems have prevented many patients and doctors from getting them.
Department of Health and Human Services officials said Monday that only 25% of the more than 641,000 treatment courses distributed to states and local health sites have been used as of last week.
A big problem has been finding a place that has the drugs. The web site includes a tool where people can find locations administering the treatment within 50 miles. Doctors will determine if patients meet the criteria. Treatment must start within 10 days of first symptoms.
The drugs are free, although people may be charged a fee for the IV infusion, a one-time treatment that takes about an hour.