A lot of people have asked, and since I have done some amount of personal research on this here’s what I’ve learned about the various monoclonal antibody treatments.
Due to a close-contact Covid exposure before Christmas, my transplant team recommended I get a monoclonal treatment. They sent me to the Florida State-run free monoclonal infusion website and I made an appointment and went last Wednesday and got the Regen-Cov infusion.
Currently in the US (as of 1/5/2022), there are four different approved monoclonal antibody infusions:
Regeneron – REGEN-COV (Casirivimab and Imdevimab) – 4 injections, each arm and 2 in stomach
Eli Lily – (Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab) – Administered via IV.
GlaxoSmithKlein – (Sotrovimab) – Administered via IV
As of last week, Florida was only distributing Regeneron and the Eli Lily brands. The GSK one is the version that data points to being the most effective against Omicron, but you can’t just assume you know which variant you have or been exposed to. Unless you’re doing some fancy test that the rest of us don’t have access to, the particular flavor of Covid anyone has is an unknown. While Omicron is the most common out there at the moment, there is still plenty of Delta around.
The AstraZeneca one isn’t recommended for people who have Covid or been exposed, but as a preventative for immunocompromised people who for whatever reason can’t do vaccines.
Like I said, I got the Regeneron 4 shot injection. After the injections I waited in the waiting area for about 30 minutes for observation before I was told I could leave. I didn’t notice any side effects at all.
I’ll admit it…I do live in fear. But I don’t think it’s the same kind fear as what the anti-mask crowd is calling “living in fear.”
I am afraid that if anyone I love or care about falls ill because of COVID-19 (or any highly communicable disease for that manner), that I won’t be able to be with them when they need comfort the most.
Having spent more time than I imagined in a hospital from March-May while waiting for a life-saving liver transplant, I know all too well how much having visitors helped keep my spirits up. Social media certainly helps, but there is nothing like being able to hold someone’s hand or hug them or just simply watch a movie together. To have someone bring me a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake or a Smoothie, drop off some comic books, some Twizzlers, Dinner from Maxines’s, play some guitar for me…anything from the outside world… helped.
The sterile environment of a hospital room can be a very lonely place.
And it’s a very scary place, especially because you’re there because you’re sick and not because you want to be. And despite having the best care and the most wonderful doctors and nurses, they can’t replace your friends and family.
When I first went to the hospital there were no limitations to who could visit me or even when. If someone didn’t get off work until 2am they could come see me in the middle of the night. I could have 4 people visit at the same time…the only limit was how many people could fit in the room and how many I had the energy for in any given day.
But as Covid-19 appeared, restrictions started happening. Visiting hours became limited as did the number of visitors. At one point it came down to one approved visitor per day and so I literally had to choose. But at least I still had a choice.
COVID patients don’t even have that luxury. They are prevented from having ANY visitors. Their interactions are limited to FaceTime or Zoom meetings or maybe a live visit through a glass window. They are at possibly the most vulnerable, helpless time of their life…possibly the end…and yet can not even find a tiny bit of comfort from the presence of the people they love.
That’s my fear. And any time I hear someone who mocks that fear by saying that we are acting out of “media-induced fear-mongering” or that “Covid is a hoax” or anything like that it just makes me sad. Because I know that they must not have ever experienced true loss or felt love. Theirs is a much more deep-rooted fear that I don’t and will never fully understand. Wear a damn mask!
The DNA testing company 23 and Me has been using their massive data sets to assist scientists with analysis in how COVID-19 spreads and if genetic factors play a role in determining how likely someone is to get infected and how severe the infection will be.
While not definitive, some of their early data seems to confirm that blood type may be a factor in transmission and immunity.
“In percentages, in the entire population, individuals with blood group O were 9-18% less likely to test positive when compared to other groups. “Exposed” individuals with blood group O were 13-26% less likely to test positive.”
Back in the summer of 2011 I was head of marketing for a start-up called Tropo. Our team was geographically spread around the globe, but I mostly worked out of a small office on 3rd floor of a building right on the corner of Market and 2nd Street in downtown San Francisco. We had a lovely view of Market Street and I would often find myself gazing at the crowds passing by below while working on a press release, company blog entry or planning our next tech event.
One afternoon I noticed what, at first I thought was a parade heading north up Market Street towards the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building. Drums were pounding, people were chanting…I looked a little closer and noticed some were carrying signs but I could’t make out what the signs said. It certainly wasn’t a parade…and I quickly realized it was some sort of protest. Ah! but protesting what?
Since I had moved to San Francisco a year earlier I noticed three things that San Franciscans love: Getting dressed in costumes, Parades, and Protests. Sometimes all three at the same time. This particular group kinda had costumes…some of them were wearing Guy Fawkes masks, some had a cyber-punk/steampunk look…but it it was less of a parade and more of a moving crowd. The crowd stopped right across the street and circled around a Chase Bank retail location on the ground floor. I grabbed my camera and went out to investigate.
As I approached I could see some of the signs, “We are the 99%”. “Tax the Rich”, and others. Some of the protestors had entered the bank and I could see them through the window with signs, holding hands and sitting cross-legged on the floor. The crowd outside of the bank was peaceful, but clearly they were protesting something…but what?
That was my very first introduction to the Occupy Wall Street movement. The police arrived, the protestors started walking further down the street to the Federal Reserve Bank building. I was taking pictures and video, mesmerized by this protest that had seemingly popped up from nowhere. The protest turned into a sit-in. Tents were erected. A small community of protestors took up residence outside of of the Federal building, and later around the Embarcadero. Police would periodically come in and clean all the “occupiers” out by destroying their tents, pepper spray, and mass arrests. I attended protests in San Francisco and Oakland, and because my job required a lot of travel that summer, I attended Occupy Protests in NYC, Seattle, Austin, Orlando, Miami, London, Berlin and Paris. It was a global protest of the have-nots vs. the haves and stretched on for months.
Now we’re seeing a different kind of protest movement. 2020 has proven to be a difficult year. Personally, I was battling liver disease and desperately needed a transplant to live (something that thankfully happened on May 13th!). But while I was busy with my own health issues and generally thinking “things couldn’t get worse”, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. Quarantines, stay-at-home-orders, curfews, and conflicting information from scientists, doctors and politicians cause a general sense of chaos and frustration.
And just as it seemed we were emerging from the worst of the pandemic, as armed Trump supporters took to the streets to protest state lockdown orders and demand access to salons and golf courses, a few racially-charged incidents happened.
Within days, what started as peaceful protests in Minneapolis broke out into violence. Protests spread to other cities…within a week there were peaceful and violent protests in almost every major city in the United States and some international cities as well. Donald Trump flamed the fans of the fire with his (now anticipated) divisive rhetoric, causing more civil unrest. We are still in the midst of seeing this whole thing grow with no peace in sight, and no strong leadership to quell the anger and frustration.
What will happen next? Trump made an announcement today to tell local mayors and governors to stop the violence or he will use the military to do it for them. In the meantime, protests continue across the country with many cities enforcing overnight curfews.
Civil Disobedience is as American as, well, America. Perhaps Trevor Noah says it best.