Texas is in a serious fight with the coronavirus. Our state recently surpassed one million confirmed coronavirus cases, and new cases in North Texas continue breaking daily records. As flu season is right around the corner and the pandemic makes being “home for the holidays” potentially risky, cases are expected to rise even further. Despite all of this, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
Last month, I wrote to you about Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration’s historic plan to deliver a coronavirus vaccine to the public in record time. Now, promising news that not just one, but two vaccines, may be over 90% effective brings hope to the world that an end to the pandemic is in sight. New developments in treatments and therapeutics are also helping doctors make significant progress against the pandemic. My office recently received an important briefing from the Texas Department of State Health Services on one such therapeutic, Bamlanivimab, commonly known as BAM, and I want to share this information with you.
BAM is an antibody designed for patients with mild to moderate coronavirus symptoms, and is similar to an experimental drug that President Trump received last month, which helped him recover so quickly. BAM can prevent some patients from developing severe symptoms if they are treated early, thereby preventing the need for long-term hospitalization. That is why the State of Texas started distributing shipments of BAM to hospitals statewide last week, including in North Texas. Baylor Scott & White-Fort Worth, which also partnered with drug maker Eli Lilly in BAM’s clinical trials, is among the roughly 70 North Texas hospitals that are already treating patients with BAM. Last Thursday, Governor Abbott held a briefing about BAM, praising the drug’s potential—but also reminding us that “the best treatment is prevention” and to not let our guard down against the virus.
Unprecedented collaboration between the health care industry and government experts has already brought two highly effective vaccines within reach. Until then, treatments like BAM are adding invaluable tools for doctors to fight the pandemic. As Governor Abbott, the CDC, and local leaders are all advising, remember to be vigilant as we enter a critical time of year. Be sure to follow these CDC recommendations to make your Thanksgiving safer.
The holidays look different this year, but with vaccines in the pipeline and new treatments in our hospitals, there’s every reason to hope that next year’s holidays can be celebrated with much bigger gatherings. We’re getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel, but only your continued cooperation will keep it shining.