Gov. DeSantis Supporting Top Donor’s COVID-19 Antibody Treatment Investment

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is promoting Regeneron (REGEN-GOV), a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy treatment in which one of his top donors’ companies is invested.

Regeneron is authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and while it is available for free to patients, the government is charged over $1000 per treatment.

Meanwhile, the cost of a vaccine is only a fraction of that, at around $25.

CEO of Citadel, Ken Griffin, has given $10.75 million to a political committee that supports the controversial Republican Governor.

Citadel is a hedge fund with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

According to a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the company has $15.9 million in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceutical, the maker of the antibody treatment.

According to NBC News, Griffin was raised in Florida and is in the process of building an oceanfront home near former President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort.

The Governor endorsed the drug at a treatment site in Orlando, Florida, on Monday.

“Once you’re infected, the vaccine is not going to treat the infection, so what are you going to do after that,” the Governor said Wednesday at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines.

“Early treatment with these monoclonal antibodies — Regeneron and others – have proven to radically reduce the chances that somebody ends up being hospitalized,” Governor DeSantis said. “Reducing hospital admissions has got to be a top priority.”

Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for the Florida Governor, hit back at critics that suggest that the Governor’s support for the monoclonal antibody treatment is rooted in corruption and argued that Citadel has a bigger investment in the Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“Claiming that there is somehow ‘corruption’ by promoting the baseless political narrative that Governor DeSantis supports Regeneron over COVID vaccines (completely false, but that is another topic) is not even logically consistent when you examine the SEC filing,” Pushaw wrote in an email. “Citadel holds far more shares of Pfizer and Moderna than Regeneron.”

“Vaccines prevent serious illness from COVID-19. But if someone who is unvaccinated gets COVID, or a vaccinated person gets a breakthrough infection, those in risk categories with comorbidities should consider getting early treatment with Regeneron. It is safe, effective, and free of charge to all patients in Florida. This should not be a political issue — it’s about saving lives.”

Florida is offering monoclonal antibody treatments in Pembroke Pines, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Brevard County — with plans of adding more treatment sites across the state. The treatment sites can accommodate more than 300 people a day.

“Vaccinated or not, we want you to be able to be treated,” Governor DeSantis said.

Health experts say the drug is effective when taken within 10 days of COVID-19 symptoms. The drug is deemed

“We definitely need treatments like monoclonal antibodies that can prevent mild disease from progressing to severe disease. Ultimately, it’s still best to prevent someone from contracting COVID-19 in the first place,” Dr. Leana Wen, public health professor at George Washington University, said. “Monoclonal antibodies are not prevention.”

The stock for the antibody treatment has increased 35% this year — shares were valued at $650 on Wednesday.

“There’s been a tremendous acceleration in use,” Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron’s CEO, said earlier this month.

Schleifer says that 50,000 doses are ordered every week.

The rise in new COVID-19 infections in southern states is responsible for the demand of the treatment.

“This is the best shot we’ve got right now to keep people out of the hospital and keep them safe,” Governor DeSantis said last week at a news conference.

DeSantis is under fire for banning mask mandates throughout the state, even as schools report high numbers of COVID cases and close contacts.

 

About RavenH

Raven Haywood is a journalist for 10+ years. Graduate from Howard University.

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