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Illustration: Axios Visuals

Antibody treatments are showing promise as an important tool against the coronavirus, but there aren't going to be a lot of them at first and they could also come with hefty price tags.

Driving the news: Regeneron announced on Wednesday that its antibody cocktail reduced infected patients’ need to visit the doctor or go to the hospital by 57% — but there are only 50,000 doses available right now, Stat reports.

  • The treatment is given early on in the course of the disease, meaning that it can't be rationed for only the sickest patients.
  • The company is ramping up production and expects to be able to produce 300,000 doses in the coming months.
  • Eli Lilly has said that it could ship 100,000 doses of its single antibody if it's cleared by regulators, and could produce up to a million doses by the end of the year.

Between the lines: Lilly has agreed to provide 300,000 doses of its antibody to the federal government, which plans to distribute them at no cost.

  • However, the therapy is given by intravenous infusion, which can cost well over $1,000, NPR reports. Insured patients could end up on the hook for hundreds of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
  • That means that infected patients — of which only a small percentage require hospitalization — will have to decide whether it's worth getting the treatment, and possibly an expensive bill, in order to reduce the risk of future hospitalization from the virus.

Go deeper

14 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.