NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WRKN) — A new treatment called Monoclonal Antibody Treatment is now available in Tennessee for COVID-19, and Governor Bill Lee is urging Tennesseans who test positive for COVID-19 to contact their health care provider immediately to ask about the therapy.
“We have them available. They’re very effective particularly in this period of time before we get our elderly population vaccinated,” said Lee.
The treatment is most effective when given early in the infection process, before COVID-19 symptoms worsen to the point of hospitalization.
Infectious disease physician Tracy Osborne with TriStar Southern Hills Hospital explains how the therapy works:
“It is not a vaccination. It is a fusion of antibodies [similar to] soldiers sent to fight the virus by attaching to these spike proteins, not allowing the virus to come into the cell and infect it,” said Dr. Osborne.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey echoes its effectiveness.
“These therapeutics are upwards of 85% to 90% effective at preventing progression to severe disease,” said Dr. Piercey.
Monoclonal Antibodies aren’t available to everyone in Middle Tennessee. Dr. Osborne says patients must be older than 65, older than 55 with a pre-existing condition, anyone with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35, or those who are immune compromised or undergoing immunotherapies.
The outpatient procedure takes two hours.
“You get the IV started. You get this medicine for an hour,” said Osborne, “They watch you in the clinic for an hour. Then you get to go home.”
A new way of treating the virus that helps more than just COVID-19 patients.
“We can not only help people get better faster, stay out of the hospital,” explained Osborne, “But in doing so, we help relieve the pressure on our hospitals and the health care staff who’ve been working so hard.”
Click here for a list of locations offering the treatment.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )