MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There are many COVID-19 patients who could benefit from treatment but are not sick enough to be hospitalized.
Now there is a new treatment center in the Mid-South offering something to help those people recover quicker.
It’s the same kind of treatment President Trump got when he had COVID.
It’s called a monoclonal antibody infusion.
“Most of the treatments for COVID require you to be pretty sick, hospitalized and oxygen requirements,” said Dr. Cassandra Howard, Chief Operating Officer of Methodist LeBonheur Germantown.
“We are excited because monoclonal antibody infusion is an earlier treatment that if received, could decrease the severity of the disease.”
Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins designed to bind to the coronavirus, preventing it from invading cells.
Howard said the process is simple.
“They get an infusion of the monoclonal antibody that infuses over 60 minutes,” she said. “After the infusion is completed, we observe the patient for another 60 minutes and measure their vitals. Patients have done well when they received it.”
Due to limited supply, the treatment is only available for high-risk patients in the early stages of COVID.
“It’s required that you are within 10 days of symptom onset,” Howard said.
Howard said the goal of the treatment is to prevent qualifying COVID patients from ever having to go to the hospital.
“If we can prevent even one additional hospitalization and that bed is available for someone else, covid or non-covid. It’s worth it.”
So far, Howard said the center has done about 400 infusions.
She said they can treat up to 28 COVID-positive patients a day.
Patients do need a referral from their doctor.
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