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Who can receive monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19?

Crestwood Medical Center and the Huntsville Hospital System have monoclonal antibody infusions available, but they are meant to treat a certain group of people.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — "When we get exposed to any type of infection, our body will produce different proteins to fight that infection, and that protein, one of them, is called antibody. That's the main way, or one of the ways, that we will be able to fight the infection and get rid of it or reduce it," said Huntsville Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Ali Hassoun. 

Researchers looked at the antibodies that fight the virus and were able to imitate them. Those imitation antibodies are what are in the infusions that allow people to better fight COVID-19, but these antibody infusions are only available to a specific group.

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"It's 65 and above, or 55 with risk factors, we call them. Now, you know, if you're young but you have, what we call a BMI or obese, morbidly obese, of 35 and you have high blood pressure and heart disease, you might be eligible for that, so it's definitely certain demographics and those who are more vulnerable for complicated COVID. It's not the healthy, young patient because there is limited supply of it and it's only done in the outpatient setting, we don't do when the patient gets admitted," said Hassoun. 

You not only have to fit this demographic, but you also have to test positive and receive the infusions within three days of receiving the positive test. This not only helps those with early detected COVID, but it also helps the hospitals. These infusions can keep people from getting admitted. This keeps ventilators and beds open for those with a more progressed COVID case. 

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"It's usually about an hour infusion, where you monitor the patient for any allergic reaction and then keep them after that for about 15, 30 minutes," said Hassoun.

Hassoun says allergic reactions are very rare and that this treatment is free under emergency use authorization, but again, you must be eligible to receive one.

If you have tested positive, contact Crestwood Medical Center or the Huntsville Hospital System and a physician will determine whether you can receive the treatment or not based on your eligibility.  

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