ORLANDO, Fla. – After opening a new rapid response unit to administer monoclonal antibody treatments in Jacksonville last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced a similar unit has opened in Orlando.
The new site at Camping World Stadium will be open seven days a week and be able to treat 320 patients a day. DeSantis said the goal of the centers is to reduce hospitalizations in Florida amid the recent surge in the coronavirus fueled by the delta variant. The treatments are free, he said.
The state plans to open similar centers across Florida but DeSantis did not say where.
“We want to send the message if you do test positive and you’re somebody — particularly if you’re high risk for severe COVID outcomes, elderly folks immunocompromised morbid obesity, diabetes, kidney problems, chronic heart or lung conditions — this is something that really, if done early, can make a big difference, but the key is early intervention,” Desantis said.
Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, said the treatments, like the drug Regeneron, are human-made proteins designed to help COVID patients fight off the virus, but it’s just a temporary solution.
“This particular monoclonal treatment has been shown to reduce hospitalizations in 70% of the people who have been infected. These antibodies are for short-term success,” Joshi emphasized. “They will get you through an episode of infection, but they do not provide long-term immunity. That’s what the vaccine does.”