Monoclonal antibodies reduce risk of COVID related hospitalization but are in low supply

Local News

EAU CLAIRE Wisc. (WLAX/WEUX) – With local COVID-19 cases on the rise in the past month, more people may be turning to treatments like monoclonal antibodies for help. However, doctors say patients shouldn’t rely solely on them.

Prevea Health Chief Medical Officer Doctor Ken Johnson says monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins that help the body fight COVID-19. “They’re indicated when you have mild to moderate illness and you have risk factors for severe illness such as age, heart problems, lung problems, diabetes or kidney problems.”

He says receiving the treatment within 10 days of the onset of symptoms reduces the risk of hospitalization by half. However, Johnson also says he has a limited supply of monoclonal antibodies, which must be given through IV infusion.

Johnson said, “We do have to look at our doses and then we have look at all the patients who might be eligible for it and we pick the ones that are most likely to be severely ill and they’re the ones who are going to get it on a given day.”

He, along with Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese and Mayo Clinic Health System pharmacist Richard Arndt agree. The best medical treatment for COVID-19 is vaccination.

“Monoclonal antibodies are a great help but they don’t support someone when they get exposed to immediately start fighting off COVID-19.”, said Giese.

“They are a pathway to help reduce the symptoms and the progression of the patient’s disease state. However, they are not a long-term solution to prevent COVID-19 infection rates and progression.”, said Arndt.

“The first thing you want to do is to not get the virus at all and the best way to do that is isolation and vaccine.”, said Johnson.

Giese says those who are fully vaccinated are 11 times less likely to end up hospitalized with the virus. Both Johnson and Arndt say people can receive monoclonal antibodies regardless of vaccination status.

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