Omicron variant treatment difficult to find in the Valley

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 01:25:09-05

PHOENIX — It's the only antibody treatment that researchers say works against the omicron variant: Sotrovimab.

It's not always easy to find, but here in the Valley, some doctors are administering it. ABC15 spoke virtually with a Mesa woman receiving the treatment and her doctor who was able to get his hands on it.

“Shortness of breath, coughing, and chills,” said 58-year-old Deborah Carroll, describing her symptoms. She and her family all tested positive for COVID this week.

“I'm vaccinated,” said Carroll. “I got my flu vaccination. I got both the injections plus the booster. And you know, thank goodness I've gotten it because I think I would have been worse. I am asthmatic and have diabetes."

From her doctor's point of view, she has done everything right.

Dr. Andrew Carroll, a family medicine specialist at Atembis LLC, says, “Her immune system doesn't work as perfectly as we would hope. So that's part of the reason we're giving her the monoclonal antibodies is to help to supplement her health and to supplement her immune system.”

The treatment Deborah received Thursday is Sotrovimab.

"We were fortunate enough last week to get an allotment of Sotrovimab,” Dr. Carroll says. “Which is the only monoclonal antibody therapy that's effective against the omicron variant."

Dr. Andrew Carroll says the treatment is hard to come by.

"Unfortunately, we're not able to deliver it to the public currently. If I could get many, many more doses, I could probably set up more rooms to do infusions."

Dr. Carroll is only able to give Sotrovimab to his patients who are infected and at high risk, because their supply from the Arizona Department of Health is so limited. He tells us he's already asked for more supply.

As for Deborah, she considers herself one of the lucky patients.

“I find this very important,” Deborah says. “I'll tell you, I don't know what I do right now without him [Dr. Andrew Carroll]. And for him to be able to get it in and the CDC allow him to be able to get it in and then ministered in his office so there's not more people going the hospital is phenomenal. So thank you."

ABC15 researching other hospitals that provide this specific antibody treatment.

Valleywise has received Sotrovimab and has resumed monoclonal treatments.

Banner Health has also resumed COVID monoclonal antibody treatments with Sotrovimab.

However, their supply is limited and only for specific patients at select locations.

The Mayo Clinic says they have solely used Sotrovimab since December 21 and were expected to receive more doses the first week of January.