Doctors say monoclonal antibody infusions are a huge step in the fight against COVID-19
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - In late November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for monoclonal antibodies. The treatment has arrived in the state and the North Dakota Medical Association is encouraging people with COVID-19 to consider the option.
While the antibody treatment is new, doctors say it works, and yields extraordinary results.
Your News Leader spoke with a woman who underwent the infusion who says it made a world of difference in her recovery.
In the midst of a pandemic, antibodies are touted as the coveted ticket to health. You can produce them while recovering from COVID-19, after receiving a vaccine and now from a treatment called monoclonal antibody infusions.
“It was simple. It was easy,” said CHI St. Alexius Patient Melissa Heaton.
Heaton found out she had COVID on Dec. 7.
“I got sick so fast. Within 24 hours, I just wasn’t myself,” Heaton said.
Heaton was sent to CHI St. Alexius to undergo a monoclonal antibody infusion.
“Antibodies target the spike protein of a coronavirus molecule. So, if given to high-risk patients early in the course of a disease, it kind of binds up and mops up a lot of the coronavirus that’s active in the body,” said Dr. Josh Ranum, West River Health Services physician.
Ranum says the less virus in your body, the fewer symptoms you’ll feel. Essentially, he says the treatment gives the body a head start in fighting COVID-- an effect Heaton felt almost immediately.
“It was a relief to have the treatment,” Heaton said.
By Dec. 9 Heaton’s cough and fever were gone.
As her symptoms disappeared, so did her nerves.
“At that point it was so new, I didn’t know if it was going to work. But, I mean-- it did,” Heaton said.
Not only did the treatment give Heaton hope for herself, but Ranum says it should give us all hope as we continue in the fight against the coronavirus.
The North Dakota Department of Health has a chart online showing who may benefit from monoclonal antibody treatment. You can find that information here: https://www.health.nd.gov/sites/www/files/documents/Files/MSS/coronavirus/Antibody_Therapeutic_Algorithm.pdf
For more information on the nearest transfusion center, call the Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline at 866-207-2880.
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