New COVID-19 treatment on the way for those with compromised immune systems

Local News

(WTAJ) — Help is now on the way for those with compromised immune systems that aren’t able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Doctors are calling it a potential game-changing treatment against Covid. The new drug is called Evusheld.

“It’s given the intramuscular injection, usually one in each arm,” said Richard Wadas, Executive Vice Chair of Community Medicine for UPMT. “And what it does is it helps prevent people with a compromised immune system from getting COVID-19.”

The University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center has received 456 doses of the medicine and they have identified 80,000 patients in Pennsylvania who are eligible for Evusheld, which creates the dilemma of who gets it first.

“We’ve devised an allocation system that will give greater weight to patients that live in areas that are federally designated of having a high area of deprivation index,” said Wadas. “We have categorized all of the emergency use authorization eligible patients into three priority groups based on how likely those patients are to have a robust response to the vaccine or not.”

To be eligible you have to be at least 12 years old and have a compromised immune system, however doctor Wadas advises the vaccine should be your first line of defense before considering Evusheld.

“The body’s ability to manufacture the antibodies independently creates a whole other cascade of events that would extend immunity and hits very different parts of your immune system so that they can work together. That’s not true of this drug. This drug is only targeted at one very narrow portion of your immune response to this virus.”

Doctor Wadas says because the drug started being distributed last week, they don’t have any data that compares its effectiveness to the vaccine, but it will protect those against COVID-19.

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