New York will consider the racial background of Covid patients when distributing oral coronavirus treatments and monoclonal antibodies, according to the state’s Department of Health Guidelines.
The guidelines suggest considering ethnicity as a risk factor, stating “longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.”
The FDA has approved two pills to treat the coronavirus. Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir reduces hospitalization and death by 88% and 30% respectively in high-risk patients who receive the treatment as soon as possible after showing Covid symptoms.
Paxlovid will be used for children ages 12 and up, while Molnupiravir is reserved for people ages 18 and up when all other potential treatments have been exhausted. Oral treatments are only available for those with mild to moderate symptoms and it has been five days or less since they first experience symptoms. For those hospitalized with severe illness, the oral treatments are not utilized. Molnupiravir is not recommended for expecting mothers.
As for antibody treatments, only one monoclonal antibody product, Sotrovimab (Xevudy) is currently considered effective against the Omicron variant. Other antibody treatments will be paused in hospitals.
Due to limited supplies, the Health Department has ordered hospitals to prioritize people of all ages who are immunocompromised and those ages 65 and older who are not vaccinated and are at risk for severe illness.