Israel's health maintenance organizations (HMOs) will begin on Thursday providing the potentially life-saving COVID-19 treatment Regeneron to some patients at high risk of developing severe symptoms.
Among the recipients of the treatment are those suffering from obesity, heart and lung patients and unvaccinated individuals who are treated at home under the supervision of their healthcare provider.
Regeneron, an FDA-approved treatment with a proven track record in the United States to lower the number of hospitalizations, is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies designed to prevent at-risk COVID-19 patients in mild condition from developing severe illness that may end in hospitalization and even death.
Israel's largest healthcare provider Clalit said that given the short Regeneron supplies, patients at higher risk may be prioritized over others as it pertains to the distribution of the treatment.
Responding to a Ynet query about allegations the ministry was withholding the treatment from Israeli patients, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash said earlier on Wednesday that he "would like to see more people get [Regeneron] to lower the number of hospitalizations."
He noted that supplying HMOs with the treatment faced several logistical hurdles and that he and health officials were examining several options, hoping to resolve the issue soon.
To that end, Prof. Ash held a meeting with HMO chiefs and discussed making the treatment, which currently can only be prescribed by a private physician, accessible through public medicine as well.