Dec 10, 2020 - Health

Wealthy and connected get antibody COVID treatments unavailable to most Americans

Picture of President Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani shaking hands
Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his friends have received coronavirus antibody treatments that are so scarce that some states and hospitals are giving them out via a lottery system, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Putting aside questions of medical ethics, these high-profile examples of successful coronavirus recoveries could give the impression that the virus is much less dangerous than it is — particularly because most patients won't have access to the same game-changing treatment that these politicians did.

  • Recipients, in addition to Trump himself, include Ben Carson, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani.

What they're saying: "If it wasn't me, I wouldn't have been put in a hospital frankly," Giuliani told WABC radio. "Sometimes when you're a celebrity, they're worried if something happens to you they’re going to examine it more carefully, and do everything right."

  • "Mr. Giuliani's candid admission once again exposes that Covid-19 has become a disease of the haves and the have-nots," NYT writes.

The big picture: The antibody therapies, developed by Eli Lilly and Regeneron, received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration last month to be used by high-risk patients with "mild to moderate" disease.

  • That means a lot of patients who are diagnosed with the virus could qualify.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said yesterday that 278,000 doses of the two therapies have been allocated. 210,000 coronavirus cases were reported just yesterday.
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