ENC hospitals using lab antibodies to ease COVID symptoms more quickly

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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — Patients testing COVID-19 positive have a treatment option that may help in their recovery.

Carteret Health Care employee holding a vial filled with bamlanivimab.

It is a monoclonal antibody treatment called bamlanivimab, used to treat people with the virus. Medical experts say it could reduce a patient’s sick time and the number of people seeking hospital care.

The human body makes antibodies to fight off a virus like the coronavirus. The treatment contains antibodies made in a laboratory. They’re similar to the natural antibodies from patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19.

At least 25 patients have received the treatment at Carteret Health Care. CarolinaEast is also offering the service.

Patients get the antibodies in an IV. It’s an hour-long infusion, followed by an hour or two of observation.

“When the antibody gets into their blood stream, the antibody searches out for the virus and starts a set of reactions and defenses that neutralizes the virus’s activity,” said Clyde Brooks, vice president at medical affairs at Carteret Health Care.

Carteret Health Care employee holding a vial filled with bamlanivimab.

Brooks says the treatment is a step forward in easing the pandemic’s burden on hospitals.

“We think it’ll free up beds for other patients who need in-patient treatment,” said Brooks.

The FDA is giving Eli Lilly and Company emergency use of this antibody treatment, focusing on patients age 65 and older, or people with underlying health conditions.

The drug is a treatment option for people with COVID-19 symptoms. People who are 12 or older who have mild to moderate symptoms for 10 days or less and at high risk to get very sick from COVID-19 are eligible.

According to the company’s website, the drug is not for people who are already in the hospital because of their COVID-19 symptoms.

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