LUBBOCK, Texas – Governor Greg Abbott visited Lubbock on Thursday to discuss the distribution of a new antibody therapeutic treatment that will fight COVID-19.
Lubbock is the first city in Texas to receive doses of Bamlinivimab. University Medical Center and Covenant Medical Center will both begin treatmnt with the drug soon.
“The cavalry is coming as it concerns COVID-19,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “There has been no meaningful medical response as it concerns COVID-19 for the purpose of treating COVID-19 until the announcement of this drug that was created.”
Bamlinivimab was developed Eli Lily and Company. It will be given to patients who are recently infected with the virus and are high risk.
“If you don’t have COVID, you wouldn’t qualify. If you’re in the late stage of having COVID, you wouldn’t qualify,” said Abbott. “Our most immediate goal is to reduce the lack of capacity at hospitals.”
Bamlinivimab is administered through an IV and is an hour-long process.
“The goal is to both heal Texans as well as to ease the burden on hospitals in Lubbock or elsewhere in just the coming weeks,” said Abbott.
According to doctors, Bamlinivimab is not free of risks.
“People can have what are known as infusion reactions to things that that go in,” said Department of State Health Service Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt. “There’s a risk with any kind of medication especially if it’s infused directly into the body and could cause a very severe allergic reaction that we call anaphylaxis” said Hellerstedt.
Health officials warned that while the drug is effective, it isn’t a complete cure for COVID-19.
“Our vaccine, in the meantime, is this mask,” said University of Texas System Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. John Zerwas.
Abbott said when a vaccine becomes available, Texas is structurally prepared for a quick distribution of that vaccine.