Clinic at UVA using antibody treatment to prevent severe COVID-19

UVA Health
UVA Health(WVIR)
Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 5:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A new antibody treatment has now been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent the progression of the coronavirus. Now, one doctor at the University of Virginia is working to administer this life saving drug to patients in the COVID Clinic.

“We were able to set up a program right within our clinic to help administer them, and that program has been going really well,” Dr. Debbie-Ann Shirley, director of the COVID Clinic at UVA, said.

Shirley is providing the new antibody treatment to high-risk COVID-19 patients.

“These are monoclonal antibody products, and monoclonal antibodies are proteins that are made in the lab and they basically mimic the body’s immune response,” Shirley said. “So they’re able to bind onto the virus just like antibodies, and in doing so they neutralize the virus and prevent it from binding to our own host cells.,”

When this cocktail therapy is administered early in a diagnosis, it can decrease the risk for severe illness.

“We can give this product up to 10 days after symptom onset for COVID, and especially for those patients who we may infuse later on there may already be some progression, and so sometimes we do see patients who could potentially still end up needing to go to the emergency room,” Shirley said.

The entire process is very quick.

“The infusion itself is about an hour or so, and because after you give any infusion there’s always the risk for an infusion reaction, we monitor patients for an hour afterwards just to make sure that they’re feeling OK before we let them go home,” Shirley said.

So far, the COVID Clinic has helped nearly 100 patients with this infusion treatment. If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, Shirley suggests talking to your healthcare provider to see if this infusion treatment is right for you.

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