Mayo Clinic using new treatment for COVID-19 patients

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Since the FDA approved an emergency use authorization last November for a monoclonal antibody treatment, more than 700 people in the Chippewa Valley have received it at Mayo Clinic. First News at Nine’s Max Cotton explains how this new therapy is potentially saving lives.

In mid-January, Bob and Joyce Wachsmuth received the news many senior couples have feared. They tested positive for COVID-19.

Fortunately for Bob, who suffers from COPD, a mayo clinic doctor saw his file and thought he’d be a good candidate for monoclonal antibody treatment.

Wachsmuth said, “I had more of a feeling of relief that because I had these underlying things, this was available to me and probably would hasten the recovery and keep me out of them out of the hospital or shorten the stay.”

A cancer survivor, Joyce also qualified for the treatment. As a retired nurse, she didn’t think twice and was excited to get the antibodies.

“I had such severe pain in my body and joints that anything that would give me relief was very much appreciated,” said Joyce.

The treatment was an hour-long infusion of anti-bodies. Within hours of receiving the treatment, Joyce says the pain started going away.

“It was very prompt that those monoclonal antibodies were doing their job,” said Joyce.

According to the FDA, monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses.

Mayo Clinic Eau Claire Physician Assistant Lori Arndt says they’re meant to kick-start the immune system.

So that it blocks the virus from attaching to your cells and prevents you from developing severe covid symptoms,” said Arndt.

But most importantly for Bob and Joyce, they’re feeling better.

Wachsmuth said, “I feel like covid hit kind of like a long time ago actually when I put it all into perspective even though it’s only been three weeks. I’m feeling good. As I said, it doesn’t feel like it’s that short time.”

Arndt says a vast majority of patients who received monoclonal antibodies avoided hospitalization.

In Eau Claire, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.

Though patients must receive the infusion in the hospital, they can leave later that day. Arndt says patients who receive the treatment must wait at least 90 days before getting vaccinated.

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