January 11, 2022 Update

Omicron Strain (COVID UPDATE)

A Message From CRNA’s Medical Director, Dr. Marc Dumas

Good day everyone,

We have been fortunate up until recently with regards to our ability to respond to active COVID-19 infections. The medications, specifically monoclonal antibody infusions, have been very effective at keeping the illness mild and preventing the infection from progressing and leading to hospitalization or death.

Unfortunately, that has changed. More specifically, the COVID-19 virus has changed. The new Omicron variant simply does not respond to the medications as did the previous Alpha and Delta variants. And worse yet, the Omicron variant now makes up more than 90% of all cases being seen in Alaska. Most medications that we currently have available to us simply don’t work for Omicron. At all.

That said, there are medications that do work against the Omicron variant. These not only include specific monoclonal antibody infusions, but also a medication that can be taken by mouth while at home. Unfortunately, these new medications are not widely available. The federal government is doing everything they can to ramp up production and distribution of these medications, but it will be at least one to two months before they are widely available.

What this means is that we will likely not have any medication to give most patients who have been become infected with COVID-19 for the next few weeks. For this reason, relying on monoclonal antibody infusions in lieu of other protective measures is not the best strategy for dealing with COVID-19.

As always, the best way to address a COVID-19 infection is by being fully vaccinated to include recommended boosters. Although breakthrough infections do occur, they are almost always mild. Vaccines reduce the likelihood of being hospitalized and death by up to 20 times. Vaccines are safe, effective, and free.

Please understand that we are doing everything in our power to acquire these new medications. In the meantime, please get vaccinated and/or boosted, wear masks, socially distance, and wash your hands. Stay well.

Learn more about CRNA’s Medical Director, Dr Marc Dumas – Click Here to View His Bio