‘We’re breaking records’: ENC doctors see surge in use of monoclonal antibody treatment

Coronavirus

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — North Carolina has used more monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients in one week than it previously did in a month.

In some parts of the state, demand for the treatment is outweighing supply. Doctors in Eastern North Carolina said they’re seeing more people make appointments to get the treatment. But for now, there’s enough to go around.

“I think for a couple more weeks it wouldn’t surprise me to see this surge continue, and I hope I’m wrong,” said Dr. T. Ryan Gallaher, medical director of Vidant’s Infectious Diseases department. “We’re breaking records. Whether it’s the E.R. or in the community, it’s surging and we’re breaking records.”

Dr. Gallaher said the good news is hospitals like Vidant have adequate supply of the treatment.

“North Carolina is not one of the states whose supply from the federal government was restricted in any way,” he said. “We are having no problem meeting the allocation.”

But administering the therapy is a length process.

“You see your primary care provider,” said Hayley Taffer, chief nursing officer at Martin General Hospital in Williamston. “They deem it necessary for you to have the antibody infusion. They write the order and then the physician’s office will call us at the hospital, give us your information and then we’ll call the patient.”

Doctors want to make it clear — this treatment is not a substitute for getting your COVID vaccines.

“Everybody who hears me, please get your vaccine because if there’s a day or so delay in getting this monoclonal, the vaccine could’ve already been doing the job,” said Gallaher.

Gallaher said it’s also important to note patients must receive the treatment within 10 days of the first symptom.

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