Continuing his tour across the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis this morning stopped at Daytona State College’s Palm Coast campus to announce the opening of a free monoclonal treatment center made possible by federal funds. The treatment will be open seven days a week starting Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The treatments do not require a prescription.
Monoclonal therapy, an antibody cocktail, was once an experimental treatment designed to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 early in an infection. It first drew attention when it was administered to then-President Trump last October, when he tested positive for Covid. Trump attributed his “cure” to the injection. As of mid-August, some 600,000 people had received the treatment across the country as federal strategy made the treatment a key component of fighting the disease, especially in places where vaccines have stalled. The treatment is recommended for individuals at high-risk of developing acute Covid.
DeSantis, his tour approximating the choreography of campaign stops, has been appearing at monoclonal treatment center openings almost daily. Some 25 sites have opened in the last few weeks. He typically doesn’t acknowledge the federal government’s role in making the centers possible, instead taking the credit for their rollout, as he did in Palm Coast this morning.
“We think that this is something that is very, very–has been very effective for a lot of people, and we’re happy to be able to do this here in Palm Coast,” DeSantis said, attributing a recent decline in hospitalizations to the treatment. The treatment has, in fact, helped effectively limit hospitalizations, though not necessarily to the point of invariably reducing hospitalizations: while Florida appears to have passed the peak of its latest, and most severe, wave of the pandemic–more than 300 people a day are dying–case loads and hospitalizations are rising elsewhere, even in regions where monoclonal therapy is available. Nevertheless, the treatment may be administered to people who already have Covid and has been shown to stop the progress of the disease. It has also been administered as a preventive measure to those without Covid. While vaccines need up to six weeks to become fully effective, monoclonal treatment’s effects are almost immediate.
The treatment replicates antibodies that the body’s immune system would produce when fighting Covid-19.
“We’re sending the message that this is something that’s treatable, and this is something that’s been proven to be effective and again, free of charge for people,” DeSantis said, “not something that obviously you’re going to be required to do. That’s your decision about what you want to do in terms of your treatment. But it is something that is now more widespread knowledge of and is more readily available for folks.”
The treatment is manufactured by Regeneron, one of two companies that produce it. Eli Lilly is the other, though Regeneron’s version currently dominates the scene. Regeneron’s data indicated an “81 percent reduced risk of symptomatic infections in close contacts of [Covid-19] infected individuals,” the company said when the Food and Drug Administration authorized the treatment. “In those who require repeat dosing for ongoing exposure, REGEN-COV can also now be administered monthly,” the company said.
But the company adds: the treatment “is not a substitute for vaccination against Covid-19, and is not authorized for pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Covid-19.”
DeSantis made no such mention at his announcement this morning. He barely mentioned vaccines, and the one time he did, he almost reversed Regeneron’s caution, placing the treatment on par with, if not ahead of, vaccines: “Vaccines are part of it but you also have treatment I think this is a good, and this is not uncommon at our sites to have folks who who were fully vaccinated, come in and still still need treatment,” DeSantis said. “I think that that the treatment part of it, it’s just got to be a really significant part of how we’re looking at this going forward.” The governor made no push for vaccines, which have stalled in Florida and Flagler–and are still considered the most effective, long-term mean of containing Covid-19.
DeSantis appeared with Sen. Travis Hutson and Dr. Kenneth Scheppke, the state EMS director at the Florida Department of Health. Scheppke’s advice was more pragmatic: “If you’re a high risk individual and you test positive, you should be thinking where can I go get the treatment and get it early,” he said. “Like all things in medicine, early treatment works better than late treatment. You can’t wait until you’re really really sick. So don’t wait for those really bad symptoms to show up, because then it may be too late for the treatment to work for you.” Only Scheppke mentioned that “the federal government already bought this so this is this is free for patients.”
DeSantis said the Daytona State College site could do between 150 and 200 treatments a day, with some 70,000 treatments administered by today. “I think this has kept an awful lot of people out of the hospital, and I think it’s definitely save lives,” he said.
DeSantis’ appearance was billed as a news conference, though he took more comments from an audience of fans than questions. One of the questions was about his perspective on the ongoing litigation over DeSantis’s mask mandate. A Leon County judge last month ruled that the order was illegal, and in a hearing today lifted a stay of his decision. The stay was enacted when DeSantis appealed the ruling. The judge had not yet ruled on lifting the stay when DeSantis spoke this morning.
“What we found is,” DeSantis said, “in the trial courts in Tallahassee, state and federal, we typically lose if there’s a political component to it, but then in the appeals court we almost always win. And so I don’t think that he’s going to lift the stay, the judge will lift the stay. But if it is lifted, I am confident that that will be reinstated, you know, at the 11th circuit.” He said the infection numbers are declining anyway, and claimed–incorrectly, at least for Flagler–that “the data never supported that schools are driving community spread of this.” In Flagler last week, half the infections recorded were among students and school staff.
Is that why I heard the Palm Coast hellmouth cracking open…
Governor DeSantis is the best governor and United States of America thank God for him, All people who got Jab gonna die just like the lab rats, Let us pray the med beds come out soon to heal everybody
Bill C says
Please, Gov DeSantis, and Janet McDonald, explain the difference between a vaccine and monoclonal anti body treatment, aside from the fact that a vaccine is proactive (before infection) and monoclonal treatment is reactive (after infection).
“A monoclonal antibody is created by exposing a white blood cell to a particular viral protein, which is then cloned to mass produce antibodies to target that virus.” Either way, you’re getting a shot of Covid 19 viral protein antibodies.
Bill C says
ps If you recall, Trump was treated with monoclonal antibodies after he was flown by helicopter to the hospital as an emergency, that’s how sick he was.
Thank you Gov. DeSantis for making this treatment available in Florida but especially Palm Coast.
No sense at all but I just gotta laugh says
This makes total sense. Distrust the vaccine. Line up for this brand concoction of science. lol. Love it! Oh, masks supposedly do not work, either, but this, once you get sick from not wearing a mask, oh yea baby, line up!
This guy spins in circles. Bite off your nose to spite the face. He makes no sense. Vote Accordingly
Raymond j Lantinen says
VOTE HIM OUT
For those who are vaccine hesitant because until recently all the COVID vaccines were not fully approved (Pfizer now is fully approved.), Regen-Cov also has just an emergency use authorization (EUA). The EUA permits the emergency use of an otherwise unapproved product from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It is a common idiom that “…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And, yet our governor continues to downplay vaccination and masking (prevention) and instead promotes a questionable “cure”.
“…the company adds: the treatment ‘is not a substitute for vaccination against Covid-19, and is not authorized for pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Covid-19.’”
Please, everyone, get vaccinated!
Gary R says
You are wasting your time telling people to get vaccinated!
This governor is joke! Thanks for nothing. MANDATE MASKS NOW!
Raymond j Lantinen says
YES your so right
Follow the money. What makes more sense? Avoiding illness or scrambling to treat illness? Answer: Depends on who’s making money.
Follow the money for the “corrupt” motivation behind De Santis pushing drugs that are NOT fully approved by the FDA:
This from AP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who has been criticized for opposing mask mandates and vaccine passports — is now touting a COVID-19 antibody treatment in which a top donor’s company has invested millions of dollars.
DeSantis has been flying around the state promoting a monoclonal antibody treatment sold by Regeneron, which was used on then-President Donald Trump after he tested positive for COVID-19. The governor first began talking about it as a treatment last year.
Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, has $15.9 million in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceutical Inc., according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin has donated $10.75 million to a political committee that supports DeSantis — $5.75 million in 2018 and $5 million last April.
Elaine Sheehan says
My grandson attended an 8AM class this morning, Thursday, that ended at 9AM. Upon returning home, he explained he was extremely upset (and angry) that the monoclonal clinic was set up in an area where the students could not maintain safe social distancing from the active covid patients. He was surrounded by them as he left his classroom. He informed his teacher he will not be able to attend in person class while this clinic is operating on campus.
Why is this clinic being held in a school? Are they forcing the students out of the classroom?
Thanks Pierre Tristam for keeping us informed, Masked Gramma
Another choice? Options? Diversity in thought?
Angela Mahler says
He is being paid well by the company that makes the stuff. Look it up. Now if he’d only start working for Florida. He makes no sense.
This Governor has not downplayed the importance of getting vaccinated. The purpose of the Monoclonal Antibodies is to boost the immune systems of those at high risk, in the short term, whether or not you have been vaccinated and they appear to be working and keeping people out of the hospital. If you have tested positive or have been exposed to the virus, this may save your life.
In addition, it was not Biden who opened all these centers, it was our Governor and the State Department of Health.
Re testing at Daytona State. Some classes are still being held in the bldg where the infected people will come for shots. Can you believe it? Kids and infected patients will be in contact. Who at the college thought that was a smart decision?
Tha God I was at work in Vol. County. Please let us vote him out if office. He is nothing but a weak Trump puppet supporter.
What I don’t see underscored here is that investors in Regeneron have been some of DeSantis’ biggest donors. One might also remember that Publix made a rather hefty cash contribution to DeSantis as well, and they were the first ones to get the vaccine for distribution. It looks like pay to play is alive and well in Florida.
Much as I do not like DeathSantis, the Publix campaign donation and vaccine link as reported by 60 Minutes is not accurate. In response to the story: “Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, a Democrat, defended the partnership between the state and Publix, saying he had requested DeSantis expand the partnership to his area, as well as expand mass vaccination centers across the county.” (April 5, 2021)
The Regeneron link is more accurate.
What is accurate, is that an ounce of prevention (vaccination and masks) are worth more than a pound of cure (Regeneron). There is no valid excuse, for anyone 12 and over, not to be vaccinated. I’m a Moderna man. :-)
Science Y’all says
Regeneron contains human embryos. The vaccine does not. So, if that is important to a persons faith or beliefs, the vaccine is better suited for them.
Regeneron does NOT contain human embryo cells. However, it has been tested against human embryo cells.
Newsweek: “In the development of the Regeneron treatment, the HEK293T cell line was used in an experiment during the testing process. These cells are a variant of HEK293 cells. HEK293 cells were originally “derived in 1973 from the kidney of an aborted human embryo of unknown parenthood,” according to a 2014 article in the science journal Nature.”