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Arkansas running low on monoclonal antibody treatments

"It's both supply and demand problems, right now. Cases have been increasing, but the supply has been harder to get."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The treatment that has helped many people stay out of the hospital and recover from COVID-19 is getting harder to come by. 

Nationwide, hospitals and pharmacies are running out of monoclonal antibody treatments, as the demand spikes. 

West Side Pharmacy was the first independent antibody infusion site in the state, but because of this supply issue, Pharmacist Maddison Schuller said the doors will have to temporarily close until more treatment comes. 

"It does worry me for sure, you know, we've had to really tighten down on who is like considered high risk," she said.

Over the past several months, the clinic in Benton has treated dozens of COVID patients daily, but on Wednesday, Dec. 29, Schuller said they had to help their last. 

"We do not have anymore treatments left at all," she said.

Schuller noticed over the last three weeks that they were running low on the antibody treatments. 

The timing lining up with the emergence of the omicron variant. 

"It's both supply and demand problems, right now. Cases have been increasing, but the supply has been harder to get," she said.

It's an issue that the state is seeing as a whole. 

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, only one monoclonal antibody treatment is effective against the omicron variant and all of those available doses have likely been used at this point. 

The state is expecting 288 doses to be delivered this week, but for doctors like Amanda Novack, the short supply is weighing on her. 

"It's really disheartening that we have nothing to offer people and we have hundreds and hundreds of people testing positive everyday just at Baptist Health, and that's not even including the whole state," she said.

Baptist Health used up its last dose of antibodies on Tuesday, Dec. 28. 

Dr. Novack said when they ordered these supplies two weeks ago, the state was in a different place.

"We just didn't have that much COVID going on and, so now, we're just trying to play catch-up as cases really surge here. We just can't keep up with the demand," she said. 

While the ADH believes it'll be weeks before we receive a sufficient supply, Dr. Novack said their clinic is remaining fully staffed, just to keep people informed.

"We're still getting a lot of calls and kind of trying to just get the word out that we don't have any right now. We certainly would give it if we did," she said.

If you come down with COVID and can't find anywhere to get a treatment appointment, doctors say the best thing you can do is rest, hydrate and take those vitamins!

You can find a full list of places that offer the monoclonal antibody treatments here

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