They weren't in the spotlight early on, but medical providers believe monoclonal antibody infusions may be the way the country pushes through the next wave of COVID-19 cases.
“The whole purpose of this treatment is to keep people out of the hospital,” said Family Health Centers of San Diego’s Director of Nursing Pauline Lucatero.
“We’re giving them an instant infusion of highly potent antibodies that we know can neutralize even the new Delta variant,” said Infectious Disease Specialist Christian Ramers, M.D.
Dr. Ramers said the vaccine is still the first and best start to combatting the coronavirus. However, he said the monoclonal antibody infusion is a great step if you still get COVID-19. He said they’ve reduced hospitalizations due to the disease by at least 75%.
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However, early on, very little attention was given to the infusion while the spotlight was on the vaccine.
“It just got lost in the shuffle, which is really unfortunate because this is by far the most effective treatment that we’ve ever had for COVID,” Ramers said. “People had no idea what we’re talking about. You know, monoclonal antibody infusion? It’s not something that rolls off the tongue.”
Now, Ramars' Rice Family Health Center in Chula Vista is booked out three days in advance.
“We actually had days where we only had a couple patients being infused. Now, it’s really, really in high demand,” Dr. Ramers added.
Lucatero said their patients often improve, sometimes in one day.
San Diego County is offering free infusions at several locations. Dr. Ramers suggested anyone infected with COVID-19 should also see if their own doctors are offering the treatment.