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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

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers — U.S. on the lookout for Omicron casesFDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns" — Two federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Pentagon denies Oklahoma National Guard request for exemption from vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron — COVID-19 "radically altered mobility" globally, UN says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.