Top donor to DeSantis invests in COVID drug Governor promotes

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was criticized for opposing vaccine passports and mask mandates, is now promoting a COVID-19 anti-bodies treatment in which a major donor company has invested millions.

Top donor to DeSantis invests in COVID drug Governor promotes

DeSantis has been promoting Regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment. It was first used on Donald Trump in 2016 after he was tested positive for COVID-19. It was first mentioned by the governor last year.

According to U.S Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge funds, holds $15.9 Million in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceutical Inc. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin donated $10.75 Million to a political committee supporting DeSantis -- $5.75M in 2018 and $5.25M last April.

Hedge funds are not uncommon to invest in a variety of assets. BlackRock has a larger stake in the company than Citadel, although it has donated heavily to Democratic candidates.

DeSantis urged Floridians in August to get monoclonal antibodies treatments as the number of coronavirus cases rose. DeSantis has held press conferences at Tampa hospitals and treatment sites, praising the efficacy of the drug for people who receive treatment within a short time after being tested positive.

DeSantis stated Monday that early treatment with monoclonal antibodies, such as Regeneron or others, has shown to dramatically reduce the likelihood of someone being admitted. "Reducing hospitalizations must be a priority."

Experts agree that people should be kept out of hospitals. However, they believe vaccines are better than treatments that treat people who have already been sick. When administered within 10 days of the onset of symptoms, Regeneron drugs have been shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by around 70%. In large, real-world studies, 95% of the vaccines approved for use in the United States have been shown to be effective against hospitalization.

Monoclonal antibodies are needed to prevent mild diseases from becoming severe. It's best to prevent someone contracting COVID-19 from the beginning," stated Dr. Leana, a public health professor at George Washington University, and former Baltimore Health Commissioner. "Monoclonal antibody are not preventive."

Texas Governor Greg Abbott was tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday. He is currently receiving Regeneron treatments. He is opposed to the use of masks in public schools, just like DeSantis. He was vaccinated December.

DeSantis threatened to penalize school districts that use masks. DeSantis is also against vaccine passports. He has been in a legal battle with Norwegian Cruise Lines over whether passengers should be required to prove that they have been vaccinated.

Citadel's investment into Regeneron is only a fraction of its $39 billion total investments. However, Citadel would be able to benefit from a higher stock price. Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for DeSantis, points out that Citadel has much greater investments in Moderna (which manufactures COVID-19 vaccines) than Pfizer.

However, the relationship has been questioned by Democrats on social media.

Pushaw wrote in an email that Pushaw claimed that "corruption" is being promoted by the false narrative that Governor DeSantis supports Regeneron. This is completely false but it is still another topic. "Citadel has far more shares in Moderna and Pfizer than Regeneron," Pushaw said in an email.

DeSantis and Joe Biden have been in a heated argument about the need for masks in schools, as well as other precautions against viruses. However, both men support monoclonal antibody treatment. A Regeneron treatment can cost more than $1,000 while a vaccine is about $25.

"Vaccines can prevent serious illness from COVID-19. However, if you are unvaccinated and get COVID or a breakthrough infection, it is worth seeking early treatment with Regeneron. It is safe, effective and available to all Florida patients at no cost. Pushaw stated that this should not be considered a political issue. It's about saving people's lives.

Patients are not charged for the monoclonal antibodies treatments. The federal government pays for them. Florida has established treatment centers in Orlando, Jacksonville, and Brevard County. Florida plans to expand the number of sites.

Griffin, a billionaire has donated millions to conservative candidates and political organizations across the country. Griffin was born in Florida, and is currently building an oceanfront home near Trump's Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago resort.

Citadel declined to comment.

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