For Americans suffering from COVID-19 and seeking life-saving treatment, they may find themselves put on a waitlist depending on their skin color. The Food and Drug Administration, as well as multiple states, will prioritize race and ethnicity in determining who receives hard-to-get COVID-19 therapeutics. In some cases, even those with dangerous health conditions could be passed over for someone who is "non-white."
GlaxoSmithKline's sotrovimab is reportedly the only monoclonal antibody treatment that is effective against the Omicron variant — however, it is in very short supply.
The FDA's "fact sheet" for sotrovimab presents health care providers with a guidance on the emergency use authorization of the treatment. There is a "patient selection" section that outlines who should receive the sotrovimab treatment, especially since it is in limited availability at this time. The fact sheet lists "medical conditions or other factors may place adults and pediatric patients at higher risk for progression to severe COVID-19." Some of the conditions on the list include being aged 65 or older, obesity, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The guidance also adds a stipulation:
Other medical conditions or factors (for example, race or ethnicity) may also place individual patients at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, and authorization of sotrovimab under the EUA is not limited to the medical conditions or factors listed above.