EagleHerald Staff Writer

MARINETTE—An array of new therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 provide some hope for hospitals across the nation contending with pandemic-induced staff shortages and overcrowding.

Physicians and Advanced Practice Clinicians at the Aurora Medical Center—Bay Area in Marinette are now prescribing Merk & Co., Inc.’s molnupiravir oral treatments for COVID-19, according to an email statement from the Medical Center to the EagleHerald.

The Medical Center received its first allotment of molnupiravir shortly after 4,320 courses of the treatment were delivered Jan. 5 to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).

The Medical Center’s supply is still “extremely limited,” according to the statement. The treatment requires an evaluation by a provider.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also issued Dec. 22 emergency use authorization for Pfizer, Inc.’s Paxlovid, which, in clinical trials, was more effective than molnupiravir at reducing hospitalizations and death from COVID. It does not appear, however, that the Medical Center is currently prescribing Paxlovid.

In addition to the Paxlovid and molnupiravir treatments, Citronberg expressed optimism regarding the potential of the monoclonal antibody therapeutic sotrovimab, which appears to remain effective against the omicron variant unlike most other antibody treatments, according to Nature.

Like the oral therapies, sotrovimab is used for outpatient treatment of COVID. It is currently available for individuals 12 years and older and can be administered within 10 days of symptom onset, according to the DHS.

According to a Dec. 17 Public Health Emergency declaration, Wisconsin currently has 2,052 doses of the sotrovimab treatment. Director of Infectious Disease and Prevention at Advocate Aurora Health Dr. Robert Citronberg said during the press conference Wednesday that sotrovimab infusion centers across the Advocate Aurora Health network have “ramped up to full speed” this week.

The local hospital does offer sotrovimab treatments. Like the oral treatment, however, the supply is very limited.

Although it’s unclear at this early stage how these new therapies will impact the number of inpatient COVID cases, they “may offer some relief” to hospitals, according to Citronberg. “We’re pretty excited about the development of therapeutics recently.”