LAGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – The COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Treatment has been used to treat COVID-19 patients for several months. However, due to an announcement made by the federal government recently, those treatments may not be readily available to those who test positive to COVID-19 anymore.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the distribution of the Monoclonal Antibody Treatments will be changing. Physicians will no longer be able to order it directly; instead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will determine each state’s weekly allocation of the treatment.
Dr. Kenneth Horlander, a Physician at Emory-Clark Holder Clinic and Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center, said he highly recommends the treatment to patients who qualify.
“I do believe the patients are right to get it. It’ll help prevent you from getting very sick, I’ve seen people get the infusion and even their mild symptoms get better quickly,” said Horlander.
The treatment provides recipients with synthetic antibodies that last about three months, similar to the lifespan of the antibodies in COVID-19 virus.
The treatment is provided in the forms of an infusion or a shot to both vaccinated and unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. Patients must receive the treatment within 10 days of testing positive and must have an increased risk factor like pregnancy, diabetes or be of an older age.
Dr. Horlander said the biggest benefit he has seen from the treatment is patients are able to avoid being hospitalized and being put on a ventilator. He said he tries to prescribe the infusion as much as he can to avoid his patients developing deadly symptoms.
Hayla Folden, the Media Relations Specialist for District 4 Public Health, said the federal government said there were seven states that were using about 70% of the treatment available and now they will be allocating the treatment to all states.
“By allocating it all of the antibodies are not going to just those seven states. It kind of sets some aside so that as the Delta variant spreads and COVID gets worse in other states there’s some available for everybody and that’s part of that process, but then states like Georgia that are in the middle of the surge we’re limited now,” said Folden.
Folden emphasized the importance of being vaccinated since the treatment may become harder to find.
Dr. Horlander said he has not experienced a shortage ordering the treatment for any of his patients at either hospital yet.