Pueblo closes monoclonal antibodies site

Pueblo closes monoclonal antibodies site
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:21 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 9:09 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - Pueblo has closed its monoclonal antibody treatment site after less than a month.

The site opened on December 9th, and for the first two weeks it appeared to be operating smoothly. However, everything changed when the Omicron variant appeared in Colorado just before Christmas.

There are three approved monoclonal antibody treatments and only one of them has any effect against omicron.

This led to the federal government allocating fewer doses to Colorado (just 774 this week) and the eventual closure of the Pueblo site.

“These monoclonal antibodies were made for the original strains of the corona virus.” says Dr. Michael Roshon with Centura Health.

He says the spiked protein which the antibodies attach to has drastically changed in the new variant.

“The antibodies are intended to bind it to that spiked protein. The delta spiked protein changed a little bit but the antibodies still worked. The omicron spike has changed so much that some of the antibodies don’t work.”

Omicron is more contagious, but also less severe than previous strains. This means that while the monoclonal antibody treatment is less widely available in Colorado there is also less of a need for it.

“It seems to replicate really well in the upper airway, in the throat and in the trachea, but it doesn’t seem to replicate as well in the lungs themselves which is where the damage is caused. That’s what causes all the problems with trying to exchange oxygen.”

He believes the virus will continue to follow this pattern.

“Viruses don’t benefit from making people sick. All it wants to do is reproduce and get transmitted to the next person. -- My suspicion is that we will see variants continue to come out that transmit better, that make people have a cold, but that don’t cause as much severe disease, at that point the monoclonal antibodies don’t work as well.”

Click here for information on getting monoclonal antibody therapy in Colorado.

Copyright 2022 KKTV. All rights reserved.