Monoclonal antibody therapy has just gotten the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use in the treatment of COVID-19.
It has been made available to high-risk patients, with doctor’s referral, though politicians have already gotten it. According to reports from KSAT, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and even Joe Rogan already got it.
According to the FDA, the Monoclonal antibody therapy which uses Sotrovimab is specifically used to keep virus from clinging into the human cells, which is particularly effective for SARS-CoV-2.
“Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses. Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody that is specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and is designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells,” said the FDA.
The infusion therapy is particularly recommended for people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms, in order to combat the increasing number of hospitalization. To make the treatment more effective, it is particularly important to get it done shortly after a patient has tested positive and as soon as the patient started showing symptoms.
Once the patients exhibit severe symptoms and start to require hospitalization with oxygen or mechanical ventilation, monoclonal antibodies will no longer work, rendering it useless. In fact, the FDA believes administering it too late may cause even worse clinical outcomes.
In early August, Bexar County opened the Regional Infusion Center at Freeman Coliseum to provide Monoclonal antibody therapy. On the other hand, the University Health officials say that they have been receiving at least 60 patients per day for infusion services there.
“We fill out close to 50 forms a day from our facilities alone, but the infusion center is running days behind in scheduling. So some patients run past their 10-day window waiting for an appointment and are no longer eligible at that point. They’re doing the absolute best they can to keep up, but they face the same staffing shortages we all do, unfortunately,” said Edward Wright, MD, co-founder of Prestige Emergency Room, KSAT.com reported.
On top of the Freeman site, there are at least two dozen other locations offering the same infusion therapy. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also keeps a national map online that displays locations that have received shipments of monoclonal antibody therapeutics within the past several weeks.
Meanwhile, the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council listed the qualifying conditions for people who wish to receive the treatment:
- 65 years of age or older
- BMI of 35 or higher
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Immunosuppressive disease or treatment
- Heart disease or high blood pressure
- Sickle cell disease
- Cerebral palsy
- Having a medical-related technological dependence, such as a tracheostomy
Patients need a doctor’s referral or can be screened by calling the Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Hotline at 1-800-742-5990.
Patients also don’t need to have an insurance coverage to receive the free service. It can also be done in a patient’s home.