Tennessee Representative Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01) and 17 of her fellow representatives introduced the Treatment Restoration for Emergency Antibody Therapeutics (TREAT) Act, according to a Thursday press release.
The congress member’s statement notes the measure intends to end President Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) policy that limits access to monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments for the treatments of COVID-19.
“It’s completely unacceptable that the Biden administration is playing politics with people’s lives,” Harshbarger said. “The TREAT Act will rightly undo the Biden administration’s COVID-19 treatment rationing scheme by federal bureaucrats, and make sure Tennesseans and folks in other states have sufficient access to these effective and life-saving treatments.
According to a Harvard Medical school article outlining some treatments for COVID-19, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are laboratory-made proteins that lessen some of the most deadly symptoms of COVID-19, such as an overreaction by the body’s immune system that can cause severe damage to the lungs. This overreaction, called a “cytokine storm,” can be reduced or even prevented is some people with prompt administration by medical professionals.
Rep. Harshbarger’s press release points out HHS’ own data shows that since the administration’s new distribution system restricting hospitals’ ability to acquire the treatments was announced, Tennessee has seen a 50% decrease in access to mAbs. Other states have also seen considerable reductions in distribution and access.
The congress member reports that more than a dozen fellow Republicans – including four Tennesseans – have joined her in introducing the bill. They are Representatives Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04), Tim Burchett (R-TN-02), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03), John Rose (R-TN-06), Brian Babin (R-TX-36), Bill Posey (R-FL-08), Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-02), Scott Perry (R-PA-10), Kat Cammack (R-FL-03), Brian Mast (R-FL-18), Greg Steube (R-FL-17), Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01), Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13), Roger Williams (R-TX-25), Byron Donalds (R-FL-19) and Austin Scott (R-GA-08).
Harshbarger said that companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate, and is sponsored by fellow Tennessean Senator Marsha Blackburn, as well as Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Diana Harshbarger” by house.gov. Background Photo “Naval Medical Center San Diego Administers Monoclonal Antibody (mAb) Ttreatment to a COVID-19-Positive Patient.” by Official U.S. Navy Page. CC BY 2.0.