Antibody therapy helping COVID-19 patients with early symptoms

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Medical professionals say there is a treatment to greatly help someone fighting COVID-19. It’s called monoclonal antibody infusion.

At the Dougherty County Covid Taskforce, the mayor discussed how it helped one of his family members.

Mayor Bo Dorough said two of his cousins tested positive for COVID. One got the antibody treatment, the other didn’t. He says if he did, the outcome may have been different.

City of Albany Mayor, Bo Dorough
City of Albany Mayor, Bo Dorough(WALB)

“Neither one was vaccinated, they had a meal together at a restaurant pretty sure they both were infected on that occasion,” said Dorough.

Both men were in their 60′s. Mayor Dorough said after one got the antibody infusion; he was sick but not hospitalized.

“My other cousin who lived alone did not seek medical attention until his symptoms were at an advanced stage. He passed away last week,” said Dorough.

Dr. James Black, medical director at Phoebe, said they’ve been seeing great success from the Monoclonal Antibody Infusion.

Dr. James Black, Emergency Service Medical Director at Phoebe
Dr. James Black, Emergency Service Medical Director at Phoebe

“Typically, if you have mild symptoms and you test positive for COVID but are well enough to be discharged home, we encourage you to get the monoclonal antibody infusion,” said Dorough.

He said over the last week they have doubled their availability for this treatment at their Sumter campus and quadrupled it at the Albany hospital.

“We’re also placing a module building outside the emergency department so we’re increasing our availability to give this infusion,” said Dorough.

He also encouraged more people to take advantage of the vaccine, wear their masks and social distance as the delta variant is more contagious.

“One person is likely to infect 9 other people so we’re asking to do everything we can do to limit that spread,” said Dr. Black.

EMS Director Sam Allen agreed they are seeing this variant affect more people. He said three weeks after a holiday they see a significant surge in cases.

Sam Allen, Emergency Management Services Director
Sam Allen, Emergency Management Services Director(WALB)

“We got some days down to zero, now we’re seeing 9 upwards to 10 patients a day,” said Allen.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up, Allen said to start considering getting the vaccine now.

“If you take the Pfizer, it takes 21 days before you can get the second vaccine, and then it takes another good couple of weeks for it to get into your system time is getting short,” said Allen.

Dr. Charles Ruis, the Director of the Southwest Health District said more and more people are getting the COVID-19 vaccine every day.

He said they know this to be true because they’re seeing people who could’ve gotten the vaccine months ago get it now.

Many of them waited to get the vaccine because of concerns surrounding it. Dr. Ruis said some of those concerns were about the science or what is in the vaccine.

He said in most cases they’re finding people were influenced by a friend or family member unsupportive of the vaccine.

Dr. Charles Ruis, Director of Southwest Health District
Dr. Charles Ruis, Director of Southwest Health District(WALB)

“If you’re in that category, maybe one important question to ask yourself is if you compare vaccinated and unvaccinated people which group is more likely to get sick, which group is more likely to get hospitalized.. which group is more likely to die?,” said Dr. Ruis.

He adds the vaccine is not perfect it doesn’t always prevent infections, hospitalizations, or deaths. However, it is the best tool to fight COVID-19.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 recently and you’re interested in the monoclonal antibody treatment call Phoebe at (229) 312-MYMD to see if you qualify.

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