Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Minnesota dials back COVID-19 antibody strategy as omicron rises to 50% of new cases


December 23, 2021

Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune file

Dr. Arden Virnig checked in on COVID-19 patient Dena Leikvoll, who was being treated with monoclonal antibodies Oct. 21 to help her recover at Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia, Minn.

The now "dominant" omicron variant of the coronavirus is causing more than 50% of new COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, state leaders said Wednesday, prompting health systems to suspend use of two monoclonal antibody therapies that are ineffective against the strain.

Omicron is widespread enough that it would be futile to give infusions of antibodies that don't work against it - Eli Lilly's bamlanivimab/etesevimab and Regeneron's casirivimab/imdevimab, said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist.

"By the end of last week, we were probably about 20 percent" in the rate of infections involving the variant, she said. "So, given the doubling rate of omicron, we do think it currently is the dominant strain."


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