ROCHESTER, Minn. - COVID-19 patients who have mild symptoms, but a higher risk of them getting worse, might be eligible to receive treatment at Mayo Clinic. It's called monoclonal antibody therapy and doctors have been able to offer about 4,000 treatments so far.
Patients receive one dose of this treatment through an outpatient IV infusion. The monoclonal antibodies you're getting will attach to the spike protein of COVID-19 essentially preventing it from progressing further, meaning your symptoms won't get worse. The key is to catch the infection early enough for this treatment to be effective.
Dr. Mansi Kanuga said it's helping reduce the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions. "It's heartbreaking to think about health resources becoming so overwhelmed with people who are infected that we can't serve them appropriately," she explained. "So, this intervention, to be able to reduce that risk of getting hospitalized in the first place is just a wonderful tool."
Dr. Kanuga said just because this treatment is available and more people are getting vaccinated, doesn't mean we can let our guard down. She stressed the need to continue wearing masks and social distancing. "Of course, it is the best goal to not get infected in the first place. The availability of these monoclonal antibodies should not change our behaviors or ease any of the other types of interventions we are trying to utilize," she explained.
If you qualify for the monoclonal antibody therapy after testing positive for COVID-19, your doctor will contact you with the details if you decide to go through with it. It's important for people to know the treatment is not expected to interfere with other patient medications.