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Antibody infusion treatment shows promise in fight against COVID

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:58 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Doctors are seeing promising results with an outpatient antibody treatment. They say this treatment is bringing hope in a time when it’s most needed. With almost all our hospitals completely overwhelmed and understaffed, doctors and nurses are looking for any sign of relief to keep COVID patients from needing to go to the hospital. And so far this treatment appears to be just that.

It’s not another vaccine, and it’s not a cure for the virus either. But it is showing to be a highly effective treatment for those infected with the virus. So far, doctors have used monoclonal antibody infusion on 9,700 patients throughout Louisiana.

“The results of this have been excellent. For the 9,700 patients only 28 of those have been admitted to the hospital after getting monoclonal antibodies,” said Warner Thomas, President, and CEO of Ochsner Health.

Unlike the vaccine, which works as a protective layer against covid, the antibody infusion helps prevent the virus from replicating. In other words, keeps it from getting worse. It’s passive immunotherapy that can prevent hospitalization and death. But it does not take the place of patients requiring a shot after they’ve been treated.

“When you look at those numbers the 28 out of 9,700 it’s less than .3% who actually get the infusion that wind up having to be hospitalized so it’s a very good treatment,” said Dr. Robert Hart with Ochsner.

Healthcare workers are using the Regeneron product for infected patients who have not yet been hospitalized.

“And the idea is to give people passive immunity at the time they’re initially infected. We want to give it early within the first 3-4 days of becoming sick with covid”, said Dr. Sandy Kemmerly with Ochsner. “Not everyone that tests, not every perfectly healthy 18 to 20 something actually is at risk for more severe disease but if it’s appropriate to be treated, we will treat them with the monoclonal,” Dr. Kemmerly continued.

Doctors also tell say because this is not a substitute for the vaccine, they are recommending those who get the antibody infusion to get the shot 90 days after they’ve received the treatment.

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