Israeli COVID-19 patients with a high-risk medical background will now be able to be treated with the powerful Regeneron medication, which prevents deterioration in one’s condition from the coronavirus, beginning Thursday.
The Health Ministry said it will purchase the potentially life-saving medication and make it available via the public health system, following a report by Ynet that indicated the high cost of the treatment was a central reason the health maintenance organizations (HMOs) were not offering it to the average Israeli.
Health Ministry Director General Professor Nachman Ash told Ynet on Wednesday that he “would like to see more people get [Regeneron] to lower the number of hospitalizations.”
Ash met with the heads of the Israeli health maintenance organizations (HMOs / kupat holim) to resolve the logistical obstacles that prevented general access to the treatment up to this point.
The powerful FDA-approved treatment has been available in Israel only through a prescription from a private physician up to this point.
Regeneron is comprised of two monoclonal antibodies that when combined, can prevent those with mild COVID-19 from developing a more severe form of the illness, eventually requiring hospitalization.
Among those approved to receive Regeneron under the auspices of the four Israeli HMOs are senior citizens, heart and hung patients, those who are obese, and unvaccinated patients treated at home under healthcare provider supervision.
Former President Donald Trump was treated with the cocktail after he became ill with COVID-19 during his term in office.
Hebrew-language media also reported Wednesday that Israel plans to import the AstraZeneca vaccine for use with Israelis who had a prior allergic reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines, or who refrained from vaccination altogether due to fears of an allergic reaction to the existing vaccines.
The third “booster” shot of COVID-19 vaccine is now being offered to all Israelis ages 16 and up, to be received five months or longer after the first and second dose of the vaccine.
At least three million Israeli adults have received their third shot of the vaccine.