VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Some South Georgia doctors say a COVID-19 treatment helps patients recover quickly and keeps hospitalizations down.
South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) started providing this treatment in December and they’ve already used it on about 1,000 patients.
Health officials said the results have been amazing.
“I’ve been able to have the benefits right in my own neighborhood where neighbors have received it that are at a very high risk and could have had a bad outcome and then they are out walking their dog the next day. I mean it’s drastic and it’s been amazing as a provider to be able to watch your patience do so well,” said Dr. Elizabeth Flail, assistant medical director in the emergency department.
The FDA approved the drug, also referred to as BAM.
Flail said it helped reduce inpatient numbers during Lowndes County’s peak of cases, during the holidays.
She says recent trial data shows it reduced hospitalization, up to 70 percent.
“What’s great about this treatment is that, essentially, it’s giving you the immunity of somebody who has recovered or is recovering from COVID. So, if you start the treatment within 24 to 48 hours from onset of symptoms. Your body is able to get the immunity and recover and you don’t progress to that next stage of severe respiratory complications and the next stage of the disease,” said Flail.
Patti Minton recovered using the treatment.
“I had a family member that came up from my birthday from Florida. Little did we know that she had been exposed to COVID,” said Minton.
Minton said as soon as she started to get chills, muscle aches and difficulty taking deep breaths, she acted fast.
She tested positive and her doctor directed her to the hospital for treatment.
“I do believe that the BAM infusion played a large role in my minimal symptoms and just my quick recovery, which was about a week,” said Minton.
Minton said she was able to remain active during recovery.
“The people that I’ve asked that really have suffered from severe .. severe symptoms, often I’ve asked ‘how long did you wait?’ Sometimes they waited because they thought they had either the flu or they felt they had a cold or sinus and just prolonged that treatment,” said Minton.
Flail said the key to the infusion is to take it as early as possible.
Those who qualify:
- Must have tested positive
- Be older than 65
- Be 55 and older with a risk factor
- Be 45 and older with two risk factors
- Have a BMI greater than 35