Newly approved COVID-19 drug makes it to Texas, Abbott says

LUBBOCK (Talk1370.com) -- A newly approved treatment for COVID-19 has made its way to Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday.

Abbott, speaking at the Texas Tech Univeristy Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, said the drug bamlanivimab is ready to be distributed around the state. An antibody therapy developed by Eli Lilly and Company, it's the first immediate use medical treatment authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 patients.

"Every day, the Lone Star State is closer to turning the corner of this pandemic thanks to medical advancements like bamlanivimab," Abbott said. "This therapy drug will help prevent hospitalizations and reduce the strain on our healthcare system and workers."

It's the same type of drug President Trump took during his battle with COVID-19. Abbott said it takes about an hour to administer the therapy to a patient. Bamlanivimab is for outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are aged 12 years or older and are at higher risk of severe disease. It has been shown to prevent hospitalizations in some patients when used before they become very sick. 

"The goal is to give it to people at such an early date during their infection that it keeps them out of the hospital," Abbott said.

Eli Lilly said it's sending some 80,000 doses of the drug to points all over the country, at no cost, and is aiming to have a million doses ready by the end of the year.