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NYT 7. März 2022: Evusheld, a new treatment developed by AstraZeneca, can prevent Covid-19 in people who either cannot produce antibodies after being vaccinated or cannot be vaccinated at all.

Administered in two consecutive injections, it appears to offer as much as six months of protection to immunocompromised people, giving it considerable appeal for those who have had to continue to stay home even as the U.S. reopens.

But there is so much confusion about the drug among health care providers that roughly 80 percent of the available doses in the U.S. are sitting unused — even as patients go to great lengths, often without success, to get them. In some cases, patients and doctors do not know that Evusheld exists or how to get it. Government guidelines on whom should receive the treatment are scant.

Hesitance is an issue, too. Some providers do not know how to use Evusheld and are thus loath to prescribe it. The fact that it is an antibody treatment can be confusing, because most such treatments are used after someone gets Covid rather than for preventive care. And in some medical centers, supplies are reserved only for patients at the highest risk, such as recent transplant recipients and cancer patients.

By the numbers: The Biden administration has purchased 1.7 million doses — enough to fully treat 850,000 people — and had nearly 650,000 doses ready for distribution as of this past week, according to federal health official. But only about 370,000 doses have been ordered by the states, and fewer than a quarter of those have been used.