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The Center for Disease and Control’s (CDC) “safe and effective” term for monoclonal antibodies is no longer effective against Omicron coronavirus variants. News from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the antibody drugs would no longer be used was shocking. Numerous doses were already administered to patients with new COVID-19 infections and variants for a significant hospital bill.

Still, very little information is given on how the antibody treatments are made and how they work or fail to protect against Omicron. Hence, the continued antibodies promotion by some Republican governors who believe the Regeneron and Eli Lilly treatments offer/provide positive results for some patients. The development of antibody treatments is explored here with added insights into the consequences a lack of proper information poses to human health.

A False Sense of Security

Monoclonal antibody treatments are lab-created molecules that mimic the immune system’s response to an infection. The treatments specifically designed to treat COVID variants effectively have a high cost of $2,100 per dose. While the United States government did offer the antibody treatment to consumers, hospitals charged hefty administration and monitoring fees for each patient treatment process. Still, many people around the United States chose the treatment, and that was until public health officials started showing from data that the antibodies were useless against the Omicron variant.

According to drug makers Regeneron and Eli Lilly, Omicron has numerous mutations that deem the monoclonal antibodies ineffective. In turn, the FDA announced the ineffectiveness of the Monoclonal antibody treatments. However, in states like Florida, the governor, Ron DeSantis, believes the monoclonal treatment works on Omicron because symptoms are eliminated.

Determining whether the antibody treatments work requires hospitals to conduct a positive PCR lab screening to identify whether the viral infection is the Omicron or Delta variant before administering the treatment. Most hospitals don’t have the capacity to handle the PCR lab screening. This means that almost all monoclonal antibody treatments are done blindly. This puts the public at risk of further Omicron infections, giving a false sense of security.

Also, some of the hospitals that are still administering the monoclonal antibodies don’t properly diagnose the variant. Lab tests show that the antibodies are less effective against Omicron than the Delta variant, and doctors can still use monoclonal antibodies to treat some cases of Delta variant infections. As such, most doctors aren’t practicing the ethical principle of doing no harm. 

There’s More Than Meets The Eye

It isn’t just that monoclonal antibodies are ineffective for treating COVID-19. Instead, it starts with how the treatments are produced. Monoclonal antibody treatments are a cocktail of antibodies from three main ingredients: humans, aborted fetal cells, and chimera. But first, the human embryonic cell line is made cancerous to ensure it never stops dividing. For the aborted fetal cells, scientists took 293 victims of live abortion and used  their human embryonic kidney cell lines to add to the antibody formula. This means that the “immortalized” and “cloned”  parts of the monoclonal antibody treatments are cancer cells from 293 aborted fetuses.

The chimera is made from a mouse, and a human genome is combined inside the mouse to produce a human-like antibody. Typically, the human body consumes, analyzes, and then incorporates foreign bodies or cells into the human genetic makeup through epigenetics. However, the chimera antibody cell line, otherwise known as the Veloclmmune, has immediate healing properties.

Unfortunately, the chimera antibody cell line also has severe long-term effects. For instance, Veloclmmune shrank tumors at first was an immunotherapy treatment for breast cancer patients. However, the immunotherapy treatment resulted in allergic reactions after three to five years, causing the breast cancer to come back worse since patients were immune to the new drug.

Monoclonal Antibodies Research Limitations

Little research has been done or released on the actual effects of the antibody treatments. For instance, there is debate on whether the immortalized cell line was initially derived from the embryonic kidney cells. Regeneron claims that they did not use human or embryonic stem cells in the treatment program.

Instead, they claimed to use commercially available HEK293T in research labs to develop critical therapeutics and vaccines for conditions like Type 2 diabetes and hemophilias A/B. The HEK293T is a variant of the HEK293 cell line derived from an aborted fetus. Still, the origin of the cell line is embryonic kidney cells. So, even though Regeneron doesn’t consider the cell lines as fetal tissue, the cell line was derived from fetal tissue. 

Additionally, the drugs are not substitutes for vaccination. Instead, they are reserved for the most vulnerable groups like seniors and patients with diabetes, heart disease, and transplant recipients. The FDA also approved the use of antibody treatments on children and adults with COVID-19 infection who were at risk of being hospitalized.

Even though the antibody treatment led to a 90 percent reduction in hospitalization risk during its 560-patient study, its long-term effects might do more harm than good to the most vulnerable groups in society. The FDA and the U.S. government should consider using the antibodies against future variants that are susceptible to the therapies.

Better Alternatives

The primary alternative is the antibody drug from GlaxoSmithKline, Sotrovimab, which continues to be in short supply because of halted shipments resulting from the emergence of the Omicron variants. Other treatments expected to be effective against the Omicron variant include the FDA-approved Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir and AstraZeneca’s Evusheld.

Remdesivir is a three-day infusion, and Evusheld is a long-acting injectable monoclonal antibody given to people with compromised immunity. Other treatments in short supply are new oral antiviral pills from Pfizer and Merck.

Ignorance Or Lack Of Information?

Monoclonal antibodies might cause allergic reactions, bleeding, soreness, swelling, skin bruising, pain, and possible infections. However, severe and unexpected effects are also possible, like interfering with the body’s ability to fight future COVID-19 infections or reducing the body’s immune response to vaccines. So, is the US public responding to COVID treatments from ignorance or lack of information?

Even vaccine skeptics were not shy of embracing the antibody treatments because they were deemed safe, effective, and a solution to non-hospitalization. And while they may work for COVID-19 variants other than Omicron, there is still a lot that is unknown about the monoclonal antibodies, especially with regard to their long-term effects on humans. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the entire risk of using the antibody treatments is unknown. 

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