SAN ANTONIO – (The event is over. Please check back for more livestreams and COVID-19 coverage on KSAT.com).
Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday will hold a news conference to discuss the distribution of bamlanivimab, the first antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, in Texas.
The governor is expected to speak at 1 p.m. in Lubbock, alongside Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, and University of Texas System Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs John Zerwas.
The news conference will be livestreamed in this article, but delays are possible. If there is not a livestream available, check back at a later time.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration allowed for the emergency use of the drug to help combat the virus that has killed more than 250,000 Americans as of Wednesday.
The experimental drug from Eli Lilly is for people 12 and older with mild or moderate COVID-19 not requiring hospitalization, according to the Associated Press. It’s a one-time treatment given through an IV.
The therapy is still undergoing additional testing to establish its safety and effectiveness. It is similar to a treatment President Donald Trump received after contracting the virus last month.
Early results suggest bamlanivimab may help clear the coronavirus sooner and possibly cut hospitalizations in people with mild to moderate COVID-19. A study of it in hospitalized patients was stopped when independent monitors saw the drug did not seem to be helping in that situation.
The government previously reached an agreement to buy and supply much of the early production of Lilly’s drug.
Only one drug -- Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir -- has full FDA approval for treating COVID-19. Government treatment guidelines also back using dexamethasone and other steroids for certain severely ill, hospitalized patients.
One other treatment has an emergency use designation now — convalescent plasma, or the blood of COVID-19 survivors. No large studies have shown it to be more effective than usual care alone, however.
Abbott’s update comes as Texas accelerates toward 8,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which hasn’t been seen since the summer outbreak. The death toll in Bexar County has now surpassed 1,300.
Despite the growing threat into the holiday season, Abbott has ruled out any lockdown.
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