Missouri has 36 monoclonal antibody treatment centers around the state to help treat COVID-19 patients. They can be found in virtually every region of the state. The centers exist to prevent some COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms from getting seriously ill and entering a hospital.
Many health experts encourage the public to get vaccinated but there is not as much talk about treatment for those who have mild to moderate symptoms. Dr. Maya Jerath, who oversees the seven Barnes-Jewish Hospital monoclonal antibody treatment centers, explains why that might be.
“At present, we have so many people testing positive for COVID-19. And so many people who are at risk of severe disease, that we just don’t have enough medicine to treat everybody. So I think that’s why you hear so much more about vaccinations,” Dr. Jerath tells Missourinet.
She says vaccination is still the best strategy to prevent people from getting covid or from getting very ill.
Jerath, a Washington University immunologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, says the shortage of antibody drugs is about to escalate.
“The monoclonal antibodies, the two that have been around for this past year, are both versions of monoclonal antibodies that we believe will not target the omicron variant. And so we are going to have to cease using them and switch to a third agent, and everyone across the country is going to want to switch to this one agent. So it’s going to be an extremely short supply,” she says.
Jerath says antibody treatment is not for everyone.
“It’s not for a healthy young person who has no risk factors who has mild symptoms,” she says. “It would be for somebody with an underlying medical condition who is therefore at risk of going on to severe disease who currently has mild symptoms and we’re trying to keep it from progressing.”
Jerath says the federal government provides the antibodies and the antibody infusion is likely covered by insurance.
To hear the Show Me Today interview, click below.
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