MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man is the first in the Mid-South to get a new treatment for COVID-19 after he and his family contracted the virus on a family trip.
“Last week my family and I were visiting Missouri on vacation. My wife and my daughter initially started showing symptoms earlier in the week. We decided to come home on Friday I went and got tested and tested positive for COVID 19,” said Andy Shepherd.
Shepherd said it was the most difficult time of his life. He’s diabetic and has hypertension. After talking with health care professionals at Baptist Memorial Hospital, he was offered a new way to fight back.
“We talked about this new antibody treatment that just got emergency authorization.”
It’s called Bamlannivimab and doctors at Baptist Memorial Hospital said Shepherd is the first in the Mid-South to get the treatment.
“Andy is actually the first person in the country to get it. Hats off to the Baptist crew. They actually built out two negative pressure rooms over the weekend. This didn’t ship until Friday night and so to get it Monday morning is a testament to getting it done,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld.
But how does it work?
“It’s a monoclonal antibody and it’s basically is a very specific version of that plasma transfusion that we were giving people. We waited for people to make their own antibodies and put that into the immune system of those suffering from the infection who have not already gotten their own antibodies,” Threlkeld explained.
It’s an experimental approach for adults and children 12 and older, with mild or moderate cases of the virus that don’t require hospitalization and it’s given through an IV.
Shepherd said now he and his family have recovered, and they hope the same for thousands of people fighting the virus.
“I’m just thankful that we’re coming out with new avenues to treat covid-19. This just gives people hope who may be scared of having some underlying conditions and put on a ventilator,” said Shepherd.
Threlkeld said this is for people with the highest risk of more serious diseases. There’s currently a limited supply.
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