UPDATE: No new restrictions as Whitmer gives coronavirus update Wednesday

The governor said more doses of should monoclonal antibodies being made available to providers and requests to providers to expand the number of infusion sites in the state.
Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 9:14 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced today the state is working to expand the use of a medical intervention designed to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. This involves additional doses of monoclonal antibodies being made available to providers and requests to providers to expand the number of infusion sites in the state.

“We are using every mitigation strategy, every medication, and every treatment option to fight the virus here in Michigan,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “These antibody treatments could keep you out of the hospital and save your life, and my administration and I will continue working with the federal government to make sure we are using all the tools in our toolbox to keep you and your family safe and get back to normal sooner.”

Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) are laboratory-produced molecules that can restore, enhance or mimic the immune system’s attack on cells. mAb targets different parts of the virus and prevents it from bonding with cells in the body, effectively neutralizing it. Clinical trials have shown promising data that this therapy works for the treatment of COVID-19 in patients who are at high risk for progressing to severe symptoms and/or hospitalization, including older Michiganders. To date, preliminary data suggests more than 6,600 Michiganders have received this treatment with 65% reporting feeling better with two days of treatment and less than 5% of them requiring hospitalization following treatment.

“When administered to non-hospitalized patients within 10 days of symptom onset, monoclonal antibodies may reduce symptoms and the risk of hospitalizations and emergency room visits associated with the virus,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Michiganders who contract COVID-19 should ask their health care providers about receiving this treatment and I urge providers to assess if their patients qualify. We have seen successful use of this therapy in long-term care facilities and even in home use by EMS providers. This therapy can help save the lives of more Michigan residents as we work to vaccinate 70% of Michiganders age 16 and older with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.”

The therapy is administered through an intravenous infusion and is designed for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms. It is not intended for hospitalized patients. These treatments are allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization. According to the FDA, mAb therapy is effective against the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant, the predominant form of COVID currently seen in Michigan.

The National Institutes of Health recently recommended that patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of worsening disease should be treated with combination therapy -- either Lilly or Regeneron.

Learn more in the video below.

ORIGINAL STORY: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will give an update on the state’s coronavirus response Wednesday afternoon.

A news conference is planned for 3:00 p.m. eastern time Wednesday. You can watch it live on TV6 & FOX UP and on the TV6 & FOX UP Facebook page.

A source with direct knowledge of the discussions in the Whitmer administration tells TV6 & FOX UP that “no major shutdown” or new restrictions will be announced.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that Michigan should “close things down” to help address the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak. Whitmer said Monday - a day before U.S. regulators requested the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be paused - that the state has more tools than it did a year ago to combat a spike.

Last Friday, Whitmer urged people to voluntarily restrict certain activities for two weeks, like indoor dining, in-person high school and youth sports.

This story will be updated as more information is available.

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