New Meds Show It’s Time to Change Approach to COVID-19

Americans love a medicalized approach to treating disease. So, we must accept the fact that many Americans would rather take a pill than exercise or follow a diet to prevent disease.

Similarly, there has been tremendous push back against non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, physical distancing or avoiding indoor gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, we can update our response to the pandemic and follow the typical American path toward treating disease with medication.

With every newly reported case of infection among those with risk factors for severe disease – age greater than 65 years, obesity, chronic lung or kidney disease – public health workers could facilitate timely treatment with medical interventions such as monoclonal antibodies and fluvoxamine, which has shown to have a “potential therapeutic role.”

Fluvoxamine is safe, inexpensive and widely available by prescription. A recent study showed that among COVID-19 patients who took at least 80% of their medication, mortality was reduced by 90%. New formulations of monoclonal antibodies allow for rapid infusion or injection under the skin by a nurse or pharmacist. Combination monoclonal antibody use lowered the risk of hospitalization or death by 70%.

To make those treatments quickly available, public health authorities could create standing protocols and county or statewide medical orders bypassing the need for a costly or difficult to obtain medical visit that would delay the initiation of therapy. Pharmacy chains could also offer direct medical treatment based on certain criteria.

Additionally, large commercial clinical testing laboratories that detect new cases could join the response. Laboratories could prioritize cases by age or other risk factors for immediate direct notification from the laboratory to the patient. Laboratory personnel could help with linkage to treatment sites with an electronic message or telephone call.

Many laboratories might say that such notification and treatment facilitation is not within their scope of work, however, in a public health emergency we must break down the existing silos to optimize our epidemic response. Our failure to work across systems has been a key factor in our inability to control the pandemic.

When I was a public health official in San Francisco we had standing protocols for testing and treatment that accelerated notification and therapy for serious conditions. One example was field delivered therapy where under my physician orders the public health staff could deliver medications to new cases of curable infections. Another was a program whereby those age 18 years or older could download a completed and signed prescription for emergency contraception.

Given the continued high death rates due to COVID-19 – which is now a highly preventable outcome – we must pivot our public health approach away from the controversial and poorly-adhered to mask mandates and physical distancing orders to the pharmaceutical interventions proven to work.

We have been very successful with vaccination – creating the largest vaccination program in modern times reaching more than two-thirds of the U.S. population. We have created new evidence-based policies to increase vaccination further in different settings but have probably reached a plateau.

New innovative approaches are necessary. With the anticipated authorization of additional new antiviral medications, the time to shift our focus is now. To make that shift, health officials and political leaders will have to update their response adopting the new treatments for this pharmaceutical phase of dealing with COVID-19.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Klausner is a clinical professor of medicine, population and public health sciences at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. He wrote this article for CalMatters.

5 Comments

  1. how did this pass the censors?

    didn’t Trump take monoclonal antibodies forever ago?

    so you want people to do what Trump did, what kind of flat earth whiteness is this?

  2. Actually, I think this article is a breath of fresh air, given anyone else would have been called a flat-earther white supremist science-denying Trump-bot had you suggested alternate treatments to the jab like monoclonal antibodies, fluvoxamine, ahh-ver-mech-town, or vitamin D. This article is off narrative, but the readers of this rag are still hiding in their holes – dreaming of goose-stomping revenge on anyone not in lock step with the boot lickers.

  3. that is not true, vaccinated people are just as contagious as unvaccinated with the delta variant, and now with omicron, which is more contagious and leverages must of the same mutations , that does not look like that will change and no matter what Joe Biden says, these boosters are not tweaked to omicron, and omicron will be a dominate variant overt time

    “Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is equally contagious whether it’s contracted by a vaccinated or unvaccinated person.

    This means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are equally capable of transmitting the virus to other people. The data was sourced from a confidential CDC presentation published on Thursday by The Washington Post.

    Both unvaccinated people and the Delta variant have been primarily responsible for a recent increase in new COVID-19 cases nationwide. When a vaccinated person contracts COVID-19, it is referred to as a “breakthrough” case, because the virus has broken through the immunity provided by the vaccination.”

    so stop lying

    you will get covid – you must accept that now, it is an endemic. the question is are you ready for it, these treatments are above and beyond the vaccine, which is not a vaccine at all, but a hack of the RNA system that blocks symptom development, I want a full and open discussion on all of them and not have the FDA tweet its goat de-wormer or CNN ridicule people that explore them

    why your lies are damaging is that you are lying to people that already do not trust you, the pharma industry, or the government. I’ve taken the vaccine, I would like access to an informed discussion and access to these treatments as well. I am not everyone – and neither are you – because I’m seeing recent estimates at ~40% unvaccinated in the US, disproportionally people of color, so condescending to me is not moving the chains

    stop your lying
    stop your censoring
    stop your authoritarianism
    stop threatening unemployment to

    explain the full facts, inspire debate, and allow people to do things under informed consent

    I do not understand why a “liberal” population has so hard of a time understanding these basic principles

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