Monoclonal antibody treatment for omicron variant in short supply, doctor says

Posted at 7:46 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 19:46:59-05

(WXYZ) — As the clocks tick closer to 2022, many questions remain over the omicron variant and the next phase of the pandemic.

Dr. Daniel Kaul, who specializes in infectious disease at U-M Health, joined us on 7 UpFront Thursday night to discuss Michigan’s fight against COVID-19.

When it comes to New Year’s Eve plans, Dr. Kaul said everyone has to make the decision that they think is best for themselves, but said “cases are certainly spiking now with this very contagious variant. So I think maybe trying to have smaller gatherings or forgo them altogether, especially if you’re more vulnerable to the virus.” He also suggested trying to test if possible before getting together.

Dr. Kaul says the omicron variant can still pose a severe risk to people, saying omicron is “still COVID and it can still land people in the hospital … it’s probably just as serious as the original strain of COVID, it may just be a little bit less so than the delta strain we’ve been dealing with the last few months.

He says vaccines are really effective in preventing hospitalization, severe disease and reducing your risk of spreading the virus.

“That’s probably the most critical thing we can do,” said Dr. Kaul. He also noted masking offers good protection in crowded settings.

When it comes to monoclonal antibody treatment, he said the one that works against omicron is currently in short supply.

“People should not count on being able to access that the way they were able to a few months ago,” he said.

Watch the full interview in the video player above.