LUBBOCK, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott spoke Thursday afternoon in Lubbock about the distribution of a monoclonal antibody therapy drug in Texas which can be used to treat COVID-19 patients.
The name of the therapy drug, made by the Eli Lilly & Company, is bamlanivimab, according to a written statement from the governor’s office. The first allocations already arrived in Lubbock, the governor said.
More allocations will come weekly. The governor also said the monoclonal therapy will be available in all of Texas, but the priority will be regions where hospital capacity has been taxed to its limits.
The monoclonal antibody therapy is not for every person with COVID-19 but is instead most effective at a particular stage of the disease, the governor said. He also said state and local officials will provide information to the news media on who qualifies for the treatment.
Officials said the drug is administered intravenously and while negative reactions are rare, they can be serious. Officials said the monoclonal therapy must be administered in a healthcare setting just in case a patient suffers anaphylaxis.
Abbott said the drug by Eli Lilly & Company is similar to the Regeneron treatment President Trump took when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Officials said two more treatments plus vaccines are expected in Texas soon.
The drug maker Pfizer announced Wednesday that its vaccine is 95 percent effective against COVID-19. The company hopes to have federal approval for distribution within a matter of days.
Moderna also announced its vaccine candidate is more than 94 percent effective and it too is pushing for quick approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Texas recorded 19,883 COVID-19 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
A state incident response team set up medical tents at two Lubbock hospitals last week. Local officials in Lubbock said the city is close to requesting a mobile morgue to handle the recent rise in COVID-19 fatalities.
During the press conference, the Governor was joined by Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD; Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd; University of Texas System Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs John Zerwas, MD; and Tedd Mitchell, Texas Tech University System Chancellor.
Use the video player above to see a replay of the news conference.