LUBBOCK, Texas — There’s a glimmer of hope in Texas’ fight against COVID-19.
That coming after Gov. Greg Abbott made the big announcement.
The arrival of a new treatment for the virus is right here in the state.
At a press conference held in Lubbock on Thursday, Abbott broke the news.
"The good news is this: The first medical treatment that has been made for COVID-19 has now arrived,” Abbott said. “It has arrived in Lubbock, it has also arrived across the state of Texas."
The monoclonal antibody therapy, which is produced by Eli Lilly and Co., has now been shipped to areas in the state where case counts are extremely high and hospital capacity has peaked.
It's not a vaccine, but a way to treat COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms before they require hospitalization.
It will be given to frontline workers and those with the most dire needs.
The process is similar to how IV drip bags are administered and it takes an hour to complete.
Abbott said the goal is to both heal Texans and ease the burden on hospitals.
Health officials can't stress enough that this treatment doesn't mean we should let our guard down.
"The drugs that are coming out they will make a difference, but they still are not an excuse not to follow the recommendations of our public health partners,” said W. Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Early Management. “Just because you have a seat belt in your car, does not mean you should speed and drive reckless. Just because we are going to see these pharmaceuticals and therapeutics come out that are gonna make it better does not mean we should be reckless in our behavior."
Dr. John William Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Texans must remain vigilant in fighting COVID through preventive measures.
“This is a marathon and we're not at the finish line yet and until we get to that point where we have really effective vaccines that are widely available, really effective therapeutics that are available, we're gonna need to stick to those basics of prevention,” Hellerstedt said.
Approximately 90,000 doses have been shipped across the country at no cost to the states.
Texas ranked second among the states receiving the drug.
Abbott said last week there is not expected to be any out-of-pocket costs for the drug therapies.